Dear Club Officer

ARC is Up and Running


The Association of Running Clubs (ARC) was founded to provide running clubs in England with a choice - an alternative to the costly, bureaucratic governing arrangements which are being foisted on them in the shape of England Athletics.


Clubs should have already received a mail shot from us but, in view of the debate that is taking place around the country, we want to ensure that you have sufficient information on which to come to the right decision for your club.  


ARC was launched in mid February and became active on 1st April. After just a few short weeks we have 55 clubs/associations affiliated to us, representing nearly 6500 runners. Also, many well-known events in the running calendar already have applied for an ARC race permit.


Running clubs are affiliating to ARC because they agree with its fundamental aim - that road running (and other forms of non-stadia running) should be allowed to democratically manage its own affairs and funding in a manner compatible with its requirements as a simple, overwhelmingly amateur, volunteer run sport. Full details of ARC including application forms for affiliation and event permits are on


For many years, clubs have paid out a lot of money in affiliation fees and in unaffiliated levies yet received little in return other than liability insurance cover and, increasingly of late, unnecessary regulation and large quantities of expensive and generally irrelevant literature.


There is little similarity between the road and country running we enjoy and most track and field events. For far too long clubs and their events (organised by runners for runners) have, in effect, been acting as tax collectors for someone else's sport. Vital funds from voluntary effort have been siphoned away from running clubs for little in return. This has long been a disgrace yet, post Foster, under UKA/EA it is getting worse with more money being taken from clubs by way of a combination of affiliation and competing athlete registration fees.


ARC now offers a practical and sensible option for running clubs. The lower affiliation fees should appeal to all clubs, as should the lack of any obligation to register individual club members and get involved with the burgeoning UKA/EA bureaucracy.  For clubs who stage road races the decision is a “no brainer” – ARC’s policy that organising clubs retain 60% of unattached levies will allow them, in many cases, to recoup more than the cost of affiliation and be able to reinvest money in their clubs and events. Even track and field clubs with large running sections can affiliate to ARC provided that 50% or more of their activity is road, cross-country and fell.


The case for ARC is clear-cut but some clubs are hesitating because of a fear factor. This centres around three things. First, that their runners will have to pay the unattached levy in EA permitted events – it is true that this will be EA’s rule but there is considerable doubt whether it can be effectively implemented in the year ahead. And, of course, the more events that take up ARC permits the less that problem will become over time. Secondly, there is the concern that their better runners will not be allowed to compete in EA National and Regional Championship – well, some clubs have thought their way round that by affiliating to ARC but also to EA and only registering (with all the data hassle that entails) a limited number of their “elite” runners to EA. Also, bear in mind that ARC will be promoting its own championships. Thirdly, the fear that ARC club runners could be banned under one of the more arcane existing UKA rules is just a scare story – the Chairman of EA has recently confirmed that there is absolutely no possibility of that happening.


Then there is the London Marathon factor. This is puzzling. We all love the London Marathon, a wonderful and inspiring institution. But should it have such an influence on your sport? Surely no club is going to let important decisions about the democratic governance of road running be swayed by a couple of guaranteed places in that event. Significantly, Nick Bitel’s letter of 22 March does not just confirm LM’s stance on guaranteed places but, also, particularly in the last five paragraphs, seeks to influence your decision on how your sport is run. It is up to you to assess the motivation behind this and consider whether you think that one race, albeit the biggest, is justified in trying to sway you in this fashion.


The big city events are the glitterati of the road running world but ARC believes that, collectively, the running clubs, their skilled and experienced committees, and their events are the real people who organise and sustain the success of running, both competitively and as one of the best and most convenient forms of keeping fit. For non-stadia running, the ivory towers of UKA/EA are increasingly inappropriate, with expensive, non-elected managers who should be far better able to administer the complexities of track and field without the burden of non-stadia running, albeit without the income from our sport. The more running clubs and events that recognise this and join ARC, the more they will be able to control the destiny of their own sport.


ARC was set up with a voluntary Steering Committee of dedicated and experienced runners and organisers. At its first AGM early next year, ARC will become a fully democratic organisation with the various electoral posts and responsibilities being allocated by way of proposal and election by members.


We formed ARC because we recognised that it was a critical time for the future of our increasingly popular sport. Please help us to help your club and its events to regain control of running by affiliating to ARC.


Yours sincerely


Dick Meredith

for the ARC Steering Committee