Athletics participation breaks the two million in 2012

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Sport England today announced figures showing participation in athletics has risen above two million people for the first time!

Their ‘Active People’ survey looks at how many people are taking part in different forms of sport and activity. The latest survey found that 2.034mill people took part in athletics for the year from October 2011 to October 2012 based on once a week participation of 30 minutes.

This is a rise of seven per cent, or more than 134,000 people, when compared to last year. The figures include all forms of athletics – including track and field, road running and other running - such as recreational running alone or with a running group.

The news comes at a time when the number of club athletes registered with England Athletics has risen to close to 123,000, while the number of Run England members has risen to 32,000, with more than 1,500 groups across the country, led by qualified group leaders.

England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones said, “It is very pleasing the Sport England figures for participation in athletics now standing above two million. We have come a long way since the October 2006 figures stood at 1.354 million.

“Clearly the Olympics and Paralympics have had an impact. However clubs have been absolutely essential in athletics reaching this figure as they have been at the frontline in giving the people the opportunities to take part in athletics. Without these opportunities an interest cannot be turned into involvement.

“Earlier this year we saw clubs harnessing the interest generated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games by holding 600 community days for over 70,000 people to give athletics a go. Clubs have played an essential role in the provision of many of the 1500 Run England groups that provide beginners with their opportunities to take their first steps in the sport. The Paralympic Games have opened many people’s eyes to the opportunities available in disability athletics. In London the Run! project, supported by the London Mayor’s Office, Boroughs and other local partners has now seen more than 100,000 people attending activation events or sessions as well as 9 newly launched clubs, 57 Run England Groups and 10 AthleFIT groups.

“But the challenge we now face together is to retain these people and see their interest turned into a long term involvement in athletics, and to continue to see the sport grow. We need to work hard, together with our clubs, coaches and volunteers to achieve this. We want to see as many of these people who have taken part in athletics in the past 12 months becoming club members and to see even more new people attracted into the sport so they too can make that transition.

“We will soon receive news from Sport England on funding for the next four year period and we will continue to be committed to working with our clubs to build a strong future for our sport.”

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