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Fri 19th Aug 2022
UK National League: 2016 plans
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Tuesday 26th January 2016

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After taking a sabbatical year in 2015, Kevin Robinson is back with plans for a revised edition and format of the UK National Triathlon League in 2016.

If you have any queries or questions on the UK League, please direct them to: [email protected].

Hello, Leaguers,

Well I'm back from my sabbatical, and ready for a little more service with the UK League, but things won't be quite as they have been before.

The fact is that I'm now over 80, and with John Levison's help through his publishing this dedicated space on Tri247, I have now managed 21 years of UK League service. It has been really great. I've met some wonderful people, and a huge part of my pleasure has been not just in the competition, the awards of trophies etc., but also the fact that the UK League has been the most innovative triathlon and duathlon league in the UK and beyond - bar none.

It hasn't been copied anywhere as far as I know, and perhaps never will be, but the downside of the innovation and the sheer hard work involved in keeping it all in motion has meant that it has been enormously tiring and, now that I'm getting on a bit, the question arises as to whether I should carry on. For a while I thought it would be best to say that I've done enough, and to call it a day. But on reflection I thought that if I did so I would in a sense be leaving in the lurch those excellent clubs that have supported the League through thick and thin, year after year. There are members of League clubs who say: "I love the League!" and they are talking of their fondness, not just mine. If I suddenly said, "It's over, thank you and goodbye!" not only would I probably generate some feelings of loss, but how would such Leaguers replace what was no longer theirs?

The UK triathlon/duathlon league was the first in the UK, and now there are many, but all the local leagues are basically local in scope and, moreover, none of them offer the advantages offered by the UK league which, to give just three examples, has included World and European Championships at all distances, as well as the British and National Championships. The other great benefit of the UK League was that it rewarded team efforts to a far greater extent than other triathlon/duathlon competitions, which usually reward individuals rather than teams. As well as rewarding the top three individuals, the League also rewarded the top three teams, while also allowing ladies to score both for a club ladies' team and at the same event for a club's main team. I could go on, but I'm already talking to the converted, so it's not really necessary except where those interested in the history of our sport might be concerned. So, I'll cut to the quick and tell Leaguers, pending their approval, what I plan to do with the UK League in 2016.

The overall intention is to cut down the amount of work I have to do. After all, that might allow me to do a few more events than I've been able to do in recent years. In our early years, in the 1980s, I used to manage ten or so events a year without much difficulty. Now things are somewhat different. So for 2016 there will be two major modifications. One is that I'm reducing the List of Events from a total of about 32, to a total of 16. The second big modification is that I'm going to limit participating clubs to those that have earned their spurs with the League throughout the years; it will be like the 'regular customers only' situation that existed during WW2. The ration books said you could have so much of a particular item, but that didn't mean you could actually get it! How many of you know that not only did chocolate rationing last until well after the war, but that on the day that it ended, one woman went out and bought herself 80 bars of the stuff and was plastered over the front page of some newspapers?

Now, it may seem that I'm discriminating against some who might prove an asset to the League, and I apologise for that, but every year for the last 21 years, some clubs have entered numbers of competitors who have subsequently never competed. Extra work is involved in checking to see if those 'reservists' have done anything at any League event; work is time consuming and tiring, and most clubs, to some extent, have wasted some money on those who don't justify their inclusion in the UK League. So, in 2016 I'm going to limit each club's entry to a total of ten members; within that total, clubs will of course arrange their selection as they please provided they include a minimum of two veterans (40+) of either gender. If a club has no female members of an appropriate standard, the club may enter ten males; if a club has female members who have an appropriate standard and who wish to compete, then, for example, a division of 6 males to 4 females could be entered if the males could get away with it! Two scoring members will again be needed for a team score, with females still able to score for a club's main team as well as a club's ladies' team.

The following clubs will have reserved right of entry in 2016: Black Country Tri; Derby Tri; Tri London; Coventry Tri; Leeds & Bradford Tri; North Yorks Tri; other clubs, including those who have participated in the League, may be admitted in 2016, but will probably only be so if any of the six clubs with reserved places decide not to compete. This restriction on participating clubs and the number of individuals in club squads will, as intended, save clubs money, and save me both wasted time checking 'reservists' non-appearance, and save me a lot of energy! Of course, with numbers reduced, other matters must be affected. The League will not continue to provide team trophies for the top three squads, merely for the championship winning squad. There will be one trophy for the individual champion, but medals rather than trophies for the second and third best individuals. There will still be a trophy for the top ladies' team, for the top individual lady, and the top individual veterans of both genders.

In other words, rewards will now more or less be brought into line with rewards offered by local leagues. The League List of Events, however, will continue to include foreign as well as British and National championships from Sprint to Ironman distances. The List is now being prepared and will appear soon on Tri247.

A few last words (for the moment) - don't let the floods get you down! Dates for some events may have to be changed, but it's possible that by summertime our present situation may be an unpleasant memory rather than something you still have to deal with!

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