I,m and advid fan of the sport of track and field . From the time I started to run in middle school in the 80's well into highschool at JHW and now , I continue to support the sport in whatever way possible. However, the sport as I see it is struggling to attrack fans and support. As an observer , I've notice one thing that seems to be a factor in why Richmon area track and field is suffering from the type of fan support that lets say, we find with road racing and marathons. That being that the Track and field is too exclusive . My point here is , if you observe road racing , its a sport that just about anyone can partake in. 5k , 10k , you name it , these events allow people of various ages and backgrounds from the novice to world class caliber to participate as runners . Even fans who watch feel entertained and have fun . Most track meets on the other hand are either strickly highschool or college . Few if any meets in richmond are open meets that allow middle , highschool , open , and masters to partake . This limits people interest in attending the meets . The meets themselves come off as boring . When you have meets simular to Penn Relays , Millrose or the road races that have a mixture of participants, it attracts people who may not know the sport who just enjoy the festivity of seeing people who are like them participating. We need to stop complaining about lack of support for track and take a page from the for mentioned examples and start being more inclusive the entire community.
- You make some good points, but I also think we don't do much to make sure the fans understand what is going on. A program with National, State and Meet records, qualifying times for districts, regionals and states along with heat sheets always seems to be very popular. Somebody on the P.A. system pointing out when something amazing is being done or is about to be done happens. Posting and announcing times is huge.
I was amazed to be at a meet where someone was going for some very elite marks in a field event and no cared. They got a tepid little clap from about 8 people. The problem was that no one knew what this kid was accomplishing. It's very hard to run a track meet, but an enthused crowd will attract more people and if you want an enthused crowd you need an informed crowd.
The most awesome thing a site could have, though I'm sure it would be expensive and the logistics of getting the info to the operator would be hard to work out, would be a scoreboard on which you could have constantly rotating information about the meet (results, upcoming lane assignments, marks for current flights in field events, etc.).
Still with all the amazing advances in technology you'd think we ought to be able figure out a system to keep the crowd informed. I rarely ever know what my kids have done until I see it on mileStat.com myself.
- I'm sorry, I don't mean this as an attack on your view, but who cares? Nobody runs track to be in the spotlight, they run because they enjoy it and want to excel. Sure a bigger crowd would be a little bit more fun, but there are much larger issues (that are more solvable) than a lack of fan support.
- To irishrunner . Whats wrong with being in the spot light ? Lets be real , its human to want to be recognized for having achieved something . Be it among your peers who have the same interest as we do or otherwise. There,s nothing wrong with that. But my point here is the fact that , road racing is a community phenonmenon that brings people of diversity together and the win , win is it also leads people to living a healthier life style. With so many people having health issues , track can do the same when more meets are open and inclusive of diverse competiton such as middle school and open club . Your point that who cares, is part of the the problem . Not caring means we lag behind regions like tide water virginia that now has the best indoor and outdoor track facilities in the state. The Boo Williams project happened , because investers knew the people in that community care . Let me also emphasis , that I have been a participant and fan of the sport for years and continue to support the sport . There have been plenty of people from world class former olympians to more novice types that see my point .In all fairness, this issue is not just unique to Richmond . I just figure that Richmond has the potential to be a leader and model in better promoting the sport by using the model formentioned in my previous comments.Its about having fun people and getting the community involved .