The challenge for the next 100 years is ....
how do we keep the Brotherhood of Centurions going (for the next 100 years!)
keep our current walkers motivated, and most importantly,
how to "recruit" new Centurions.
At the first Committee meeting (16th March 2012) after the 2012 AGM we discussed several initiatives.
1. promote "social walks"
In the UK there are few races for would-be Centurions to take part in long distance races in order to build up to a 100 miles race, and so we believe that it is now up to the Brotherhood of Centurions to encourage and help develop opportunities for walkers to build up to competing in a 100 miles race.
Several Centurions and other long distance walkers took part in the Hadrians Wall walk in November 2011. This was a very informal walk over a weekend and proved very to be a successful event.
The Committee is now looking at possible walks from 50km upwards to promote opportunities for Centurions to go out and a enjoy a 1 or 2 day (social) walking event, but also to attract walkers to take part in an unofficial "longer distance" event to introduce them to the race walking fraternity who do participate in longer distances.
2. Incorporate shorter distances in the 100 mile race walking championship
In previous years we have held a variety of races held on the same course as the 100 miles. This is something that the Committee does endorse - the Dutch hold 50km, 50miles, 100km 100 miles and a 24 hour race over their "Wandel Weekend" and the French put on a 24 hour relay race or a 2 day stage 6 hour race within their 24 hour races.
So why can't we do it?
Probably because we don't have the resources - the people to do the scoring and the funding to use chip timing which would certainly make it easier.
We will work towards holding multi distances in future years.
3.Combine the 100 miles with other organisations and club events
Hold our 100 miles with, for example, a running club/organisation who regularly put on 100mile/24 hours races.
This would require discussion with the RWA and judges to take this forward.
4. A Centurion award for multiple completions of the Centurions 100 mile race
This has been suggested over the years but has not been fully investigated.
It would act as a possible incentive for Centurions to continue return every year and motivate newcomers.
Previous discussions focussed on examples such as the Nijmegen Marches and the types of medlas awarded each year with increments of 5 years. The concern here was the cost of producing the medals so this initiative was never taken forward,
Recognition need not be a medal - a certificate and publlicity in the race walking world could act as an incentive to encourage Centurions to return year after year to complete the challenge!
Allied to this could be awards for Centurions completing races at various distances. Granted that we don't have too many ultra distances walks these days, but this could encourage Centurions to particpate in shorter distance walks - 20km, 50km and gain an "Ultra Cup " Challenge award or as a League covering shorter distances as well.
What do you think?
5. Marketing: making ourselves known!
Well, we know who we are and what we have achieved! Now we need to tell the rest of the world.
The website will only reach those walkers who know about us so we must have a strategy on how to reach out to the rest of the sporting world. The LDWA is an obvious candiidate - most of the current Centurions Committee are also members of the LDWA!
Who else can we target?
Think about what other clubs and organsiations we belong to .... running clubs...rambling....
Think about publications - running magazines such as Runners World, Athletics Weekly etc. Should we take a more aggressive approach in writing up race reports. Ditto local newspapers. So quite a few possibilities here.
what else?..... Let us know!
This is all about ensuring the Brotherhood of Centurions survives the next 100 years by attracting race walkers, walkers and anyone else to take up the challenge of race walking a 100 miles within 24 hours. It isn't easy. It needs dedication, stamina and the will to succeed.