Richard Bowden, team manager for Somerset, explains how the 46 county associations provide opportunities for school pupils to take part in athletics across England, and why he and his colleagues give up their time to contribute.
The English Schools’ Athletic Association exists and operates thanks to the many hundreds of volunteers who devote thousands of hours each year towards the promotion, organisation and running of a variety of Cross-Country and Athletics events in each of the 46 ESAA counties. In addition to the ESAA Schools’ Cup competitions, at the base of the ESAA ‘pyramid’ most counties have a system of local Area Championships leading to County Championships. After that stage county teams are selected for Regional Championships with the athletes’ aim being to reach the summit of the pyramid, the ESAA Championships.
Among the many volunteers required for the effective maintenance of the ESAA pyramid, counties require a number of Team Managers to organise and lead their various county teams at Regional and ESAA levels. These are often former (or current) athletes who have progressed through the ESAA system themselves and who are delighted to give back something to the sport that had offered them so many exciting opportunities in their own schooldays – those opportunities often resulting in wonderful lifelong memories.
Team manager for Somerset