THE Great Club Challenge, in partnership with England Athletics and Scottish Athletics, has returned for a fourth year.
Affiliated running clubs are invited to sign up for the challenge which takes place across Great Run events over 2016, with exciting prizes on offer including a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Great Ethiopian Run, Africa’s biggest road race, in November.
The Great Club Challenge takes place over seven events; the Great Edinburgh Run (17 April), the Great Birmingham 10k (1 May), the Great Bristol 10k (15 May), the Great Manchester Run (22 May), the Great Newham London Run (17th July) the Great North 10k (3 July), the Great North Run (11 September).
Any club affiliated to England Athletics or Scottish Athletics can take part, as long as they field a minimum of four men and four women in any given event.
The winning club will be the one with the lowest average finishing time for their first four men and four women across the finish line, and will win 15 entries for the equivalent 2017 event, £500 towards club development and entry into the prize draw for the trip to the Great Ethiopian Run. Athletes must be registered with England Athletics or Scottish Athletics to be eligible to count.
Second place wins ten entries for the equivalent 2017 event and third will scoop five entries for the equivalent 2017 event.
The winning club in the Great North 10k Club Challenge will also receive guaranteed (at cost) entries into the Great North Run 2016, up to a limit of 50 places.
Each club winning a Great Club Challenge event is in with the chance to win a once in a lifetime adventure, to train and race in the country that has produced some of the world’s most iconic distance running stars – Ethiopia.
The winning team will enjoy a personal meeting with the world’s greatest ever distance runner, Haile Gebrselassie, before taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run with 37,000 other runners.
Last year’s winners were Tyne Bridge Harriers, from Newcastle, and Terry, one of the lucky 14 who travelled to Africa, said of the club’s trip to Ethiopia: “It was fantastic. From the minute we got word we had been successful, everyone was buzzing with excitement.
“The trip itself was amazing. From getting to meet athletics greats to the actual event itself which was such a carnival, it was so enjoyable.
“Everyone was wearing the same colour – it looked immense. Everyone dancing – then the event itself. For an overseas runner we were made to feel like celebrities.
“It was non-stop for an hour after the race, people wanting photographs. It was great, you couldn’t take the smile off people’s faces.
“From our running club point of view there were lots of people gutted they missed out on it. We were in the draw the year before and missed out. Anyone who plans to run it this year, they will not be disappointed if they are lucky enough to get through the draw.”
The Great Club Challenge, in partnership with England Athletics and Scottish Athletics, last year saw 5,344 runners take part from 146 clubs. Alongside Tyne Bridge Harriers, previous winners of the trip to the Great Ethiopian Run are Birmingham Running, Athletics & Triathlon (BRAT) and Stockport Harriers.
Enter each event online now at greatrun.org and be sure to give your club name when entering and ensure your athlete registration is up to date.
The 2017 Club Challenge series will kick off with the inaugural Great Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday 26 September 2016 and finish with the Great North Run in 2017