Club Membership Policy
28 February 2019 - By Marc Underdown
For those who were present at the AGM last night, you will be aware that for our new membership year, the club is adopting a membership policy. Key to this policy are two initiatives aimed at trying to address challenges the club has faced in relation to getting volunteers to help with our events.
All current members should receive the text of my AGM speech by email, and I would encourage everyone to read it, as it gives a fuller explanation of why we have decided to adopt this new policy.
The essence of this reasoning is because the club aims to be more than just a social running group. We do more because we think it is right for the club in the Essex running community, as well as the Witham community which we serve. Offering more than a social running group is also what I think most of our members like about our club. Our two main external races, MD10 and BD5 are events which not only benefit the running community, but also allow us to make sizeable charitable donations, and bring income into the club. This income contributes to what I believe is a very low membership cost compared to gyms and other running clubs/groups.
In recent years, despite the size of our membership, it has been challenging to get enough volunteers for these events and other events where we require volunteers. The new policy therefore encourages our members to try and give something back by helping out at least once in the year at one of our events. If every member did that, we would nearly have enough people to cover BD5, MD10, our XC race, our 5K’s, the Essex Way Relay leg, and the Halstead Marathon Water Station with very little doubling-up. I’m sure those who regularly help out would tell you that it can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. With different events spread across the year, whether you’re new to the club or have been a member for a long time, we hope that you will be able to get involved and get to see things from a different perspective.
The other initiative relates to prohibiting our own members from running the external races which the club hosts. This is a policy that is already followed by many other clubs who host their own races. We believe our primary responsibility has to be hosting these events successfully which is in the interests of the club. There is a discretionary option for the Race Director to operate a ballot allowing a limited number of members to run, and we will naturally diverge from this rule for events where it is in the interests of the club to have members taking part.
I hope that you will understand the reasons why we are adopting this approach, and will agree it is in the interests of the club to adopt these initiatives. The alternative would be to restrict our activities. I believe this would be detrimental to our communities, be inconsistent with what a lot of members like about the club, and potentially lead to higher membership fees.
You can find a copy of the membership policy in the Club Documents section of the website, or use this link (you will need to log in to Member’s area).