Clubs are crucial bedrock of our sport – Cram and Doyle

Wednesday 28th February 2024

Steve Cram chats at the Lindsays Sports Forum in Glasgow (photo by Jamie Simpson)

By Chris Story


Steve Cram believes new ways must be found to help amateur sports clubs survive – and encourage more young people into athletics.

The track legend amd BBC’s voice of athletics highlighted the pivotal role of grassroots activity in Scottish sport as he spoke ahead of the World Indoors  in Glasgow this weekend.

The TV commentator was part of a panel at a special sports forum in the city which also included Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete, Eilidh Doyle.

He chatted with representatives of clubs at the event, organised by legal firm Lindsays, a prominent supporter of scottishathletics via the Lindsays Cross Country Season.

‘Clubs still have a massive role to play,’ said former World, European and Commonwealth champion Cram.

How we encourage young people into our sport is getting increasingly challenging. That’s where clubs have an incredibly important job to do.

‘But we’ve got to help them as much as we can – through federations, through sponsorship.

‘We’ve got to find ways to help clubs survive in the modern world. It’s harder now for amateur sports clubs to exist than it used to be.’

Athletes from 140 countries are descending on Glasgow to compete at the Emirates Arena this weekend – with Scots Laura Muir and Josh Kerr among the medal favourites in the 3000 metres.

And there are hopes that their performances – among the world’s most elite athletes as they count down to the Olympic Games in Paris this summer – could help continue to inspire the up-and-coming generation of Scottish athletes. 

Turning to the weekend ahead and its wider impact, Cram said:  ‘I’m looking forward to it immensely. Whenever we have a championships in the UK it’s always that little bit extra special, especially with this being in an Olympic year too.

Everybody knows what an impact the 2014 Commonwealth Games had here. Events like that get young eyes on sport. The next question is ‘where can I go and do that?’ I always say whenever you have a champs it’s incumbent on the clubs to be ready for the enquiries. They will happen, you’ve just got to be ready for them.’

Eilidh, an ambassador for the World Indoors, also highlighted the impact of strong grassroots sport – and the need for businesses to get behind it with sponsorship to support the next generation of athletes. 

‘Without grassroots events you don’t get your Laura Muirs and Josh Kerrs. That’s how you build.

‘It’s fantastic when you see the end result. But the crucial part is the grassroots. That’s where the stepping stones are made. It’s hugely important.’

Steve Cram chats at the Forum as Colin Hutchison looks on (photo by Jamie Simpson)

An audience of almost 120 people enjoyed the Lindsays Sports Forum in Glasgow.

Cram, Doyle and our chief executive, Colin Hutchison were in conversation with Ian Beattie, who is chief operating officer at Lindsays as well as being the chair of UK Athletics.

They discussed this weekend’s events, as well as answering questions from the floor on a range of topics affecting the sport.

Hutchison said: ‘We appreciate Lindsays giving us the space to promote athletics in Scotland.

‘It’s nice to have the chance to do sessions like this. To hear from people like Eilidh and Steve is pretty inspirational.’

Lindsays, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Perth and Crieff, is one of the most prominent supporters of grassroots athletics in Scotland.

Its sponsorship of the Lindsays Cross Country Season is one of the longest-running deals of its kind in the country, helping clubs nationally open opportunities for people to run.

And the forum was staged just days after almost 2,300 athletes from across Scotland competed in the National XC at Callendar Park, Falkirk, on Saturday – the tenth year that the championships has been supported by Lindsays.

Speaking after the forum, Beattie said: ‘To hear some of the insight and experiences from Steve, Eilidh and Colin not just on elite athletics, but how the success of that can impact upon grassroots sport was just fantastic. We’re really grateful to them for sharing their time.

‘As a firm, Lindsays is incredibly proud to be able to support athletics in Scotland. Through our sponsorship of the likes of the Lindsays XC with scottishathletics, we hope we are playing our part in encouraging people into running and healthier living.

‘The beauty of it is that from parkrunner to ultra-runner, it is a sport everyone can enjoy.’

Athletics clubs represented at the sports forum were Cambuslang Harriers, Garscube Harriers, Giffnock North, Kilbarchan, Shettleston Harriers and Victoria Park City of Glasgow.

Photo by Bobby Gavin


Tags: Colin Hutchison, Eilidh Doyle, Ian Beattie, Lindsays, Steve Cram

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