October 21, 2018

Trackside Podcast – Improving coverage of grass roots and elite athletics in the UK

What is Trackside Podcast?

The Trackside Podcast is a new and innovative idea of presenting a discussion on: ‘the latest news and events in the world of grass roots and elite level Athletics and Cross Country.’ On the whole, the Trackside Podcast is based on the endurance side of athletics due to the background of its presenters, but it still opens interesting discussions on a wide range of athletics topics.

Given the size and popularity of the main sports of Football, Cricket,Tennis etc. in the UK, athletics has struggled to gain much coverage and grounding in social media. It is only during major championships such as the Olympics and World Championships that non-runners rally around, support and discuss the current events and athletic performances.

Even when there has been coverage in recent months it has often been negative, with the Russian doping scandal shining a bad light on the sport as a whole.

I believe that given this lack of coverage and discussion, it has led to those most involved within the athletics community to do something about it, and this is why the Trackside Podcast has become a monthly recording.

The Trackside Podcast is available on both iTunes and SoundCloud

The Trackside Podcast is run by members of Tonbridge AC, James Taylor (Tonbridge AC), Alex Hookway (Tonbridge AC/ Brunel Uni), Mark Hookway (Team Manager and Coach at Tonbridge AC) and Peter Brenchley (Coach at Tonbridge AC).

Led by Mark Hookway, Tonbridge Athletics Club has certainly been at the forefront of recording and photographing UK athletics events (you can view these on tacdistancerunners.com), making athletics more accessible to all runners.With this background and prior experience, this Trackside Podcast was the next inevitable stepping stone to publicising athletics related news to the next level.

Along with this technological knowledge, those speaking and discussing within the podcast are certainly knowledgeable and show their keen interest in the sport. Tonbridge itself has produced many internationally competitive athletes and with the aid of the Trackside Podcast it is great to hear the views of the coaches which took them to that level.


Guests and Interviews

Whilst the coverage nowadays of athletics and cross country is not great, it used to be a bit better with the likes of Sky Sports broadcasting the final Cross Challenge, giving coverage to all the age group runners.

The most recent Cross Challenge in Liverpool (inc. European XC Trials) was arguably the best cross country race we have seen in Britain for many years, with each of the top four athletes in the senior men’s race being Olympians. Despite this, there was very little to no coverage of this event anywhere in the news.

However, once more, the Trackside Podcast is able to fill this gap and provided interviews with some of the main protagonists from the event in Liverpool, including Andy Butchart. It is this in-depth reporting and discussion which is missing still from athletics and I hope to see the presenters continue this as it gives great insight into the training of the best in the country.

As well as these interviews, the most recent podcast (December 2016) discussed the transition from school and university whilst maintaining a strong athletics career and training base. To add extra insight into this, the Trackside Podcast included a guest of Ryan Driscoll who had experienced life moving to University in America and was able to share this with listeners. This involvement with athletes adds great perspective and is useful to have participate within the podcast to share their knowledge.

These podcasts are released once a month and I have found all to be informative and interesting, covering a great wide range of topics and current events. I hope they continue to increase the popularity and coverage of the sport.

The Trackside Podcast doesn’t stop at just a monthly podcast, there is also a Twitter account which gives regular updates on athletics events.

You can listen to the Trackside Podcast on iTunes here or SoundCloud here.

Thank for reading!

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