Welcome to the 2019/20 Annual Report.
This year has been a challenging year for the country, community, and our Club. After a
successful winter, we were looking forward to the finale of the cross-country season with members qualifying to represent Wales in the Schools international and the London mini marathon.
Then in April, Covid 19 ended the season and the country went into lockdown closing all organised training and competition. During this difficult period, it was great to see so many athletes training at home with sessions set online by coaches.
As a result, many athletes performed strongly in the few events available over the summer. It is a credit to athletes, parents, and coaches that so many have exceeded expectations with 3 three club records set in a single week at the end of the extended summer season. In December we are now at the start of another period of lockdown and I am confident that training and competition will bounce back as soon as regulations allow.
The club is fortunate to have had a dedicated track for training and competition since 1988.
Over the last few years, we have seen the track surface in Carmarthen deteriorate and we were all concerned that another winter would see the surface become unsafe. At last year’s annual dinner, we were delighted when the Council’s Executive Board member, Peter Hughes Griffiths, announced ambitious plans to resurface and improve our home track at Carmarthen Leisure centre.
As a club we are delighted with the improvements which were finally completed in November 2020. With 8 lanes, a back straight 100m and UKA compliant throwing areas we now have an outstanding regional facility that can be used for the full range of competition and training. Placing the track on a wider footprint has created viewing areas and will help social distancing and safety as training groups can now locate themselves in at least 4 different areas of the track.
With an extended break over lockdown and the track being resurfaced some coaches ran
sessions in Llanelli. Thanks go to Llanelli AC and Scarlets for the use of their track. As Llanelli then went into the local lockdown coaches were innovative using the roads, beach and Pembrey Country Park as training venues. The growth of online workout sessions also helped athletes keep in shape.
Despite the disruption developments continue. The club has gone cashless with training fees and membership paid through electronic payments from the 1st of December. Thanks to our treasurer and membership secretary for the significant work that goes into making these systems work.
There will be glitches, so please be patient, it takes time to implement change when all committee members are volunteers and most have full time jobs.
There have been some outstanding performances. In Cross country we won won 3 individual
Welsh cross country titles with the under 13 boys winning the team title and three athletes finishing in the top 10 in the British cross challenge series. In the indoor Welsh Championship club athletes won 14 medals and 8 national titles.
It was pleasing to see pole vault opportunities returning with training at the track and indoors in Swansea. Two West Wales titles and a 4th place in the Welsh Championship was a great start as we re-introduce this exciting discipline to the club. Investment by the club in new poles will help this group of athletes to continue to make progress.
We finished the year with close to the same number of athletes in the Welsh top ten as last year. This is reassuring and indicates that we have done all we could to give competition and training opportunities for our most competitive athletes in the most difficult of circumstances. The club was delighted to win a National award as the Welsh off track club of the year. It was great to see coach Delyth Brown to also get deserved recognition from Welsh Athletics at the same ceremony.
Thanks go to the coaches this year including Neil, Carol, Steve, Lee, Ralph, David, Alison, Clare, Jane and Simon who turned out in all weather. Without their time we would not have a club. I am also grateful to those other committee members who on top of day jobs spend hours ensuring the club functions. This includes membership (Cressy), officials (Ali), social media (Nathan), safeguarding (David and Lisa), Lisa (kit) Neil (Coordinating coaches and vice chair) and the finances (Richard).
We are pleased that Athletics is a key focus sport for the council and with the assistance of Welsh Athletics and the county council it is exciting that there will be a post to develop the sport over the next 2 years. Getting school competition back up and running after the pandemic will be essential. Priorities for 2021 will be expanding and developing our coaching team and moving forward with plans to seek match funding for some form of clubhouse where members can meet to create a wider sense of identity and belonging. If anyone feel they can help the club with this process, then please let me know.
We are still reliant on a very small number of people to keep the club going and we urgently need more people to step forward to assist on training nights, as club officials and as committee members. There are a range of courses the club will fund if you are interested in qualifying as a coach. If your interested, please contact Neil who can talk you through the process. No previous experience required!