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World Athletics has released a four-year Strategic Plan. The Plan is to grow the sport or in their words, “To use the power and accessibility of athletics and our athletes to create a healthier and fitter world.”
Grow the sport
World Athletics plans to grow the sport from both ends. They plan to connect the world-class elite to the grassroots and foundational levels. They hope to encourage children to be healthier and more active through running.
Part of this will be developing better coaches, officials, volunteers, and professionals.
Very pro an alternating World Road Championships (with half-marathon, race walk, Ekiden, 5km) and World Off Road Champs (XC, mountain/ trail). https://t.co/ZMvHpi9NgU pic.twitter.com/5eCLlHUMO5
— Evan Dunfee (@EvanDunfee) June 30, 2020
World Athletics plans to engage fans more through attendance at events as well as reaching out through media and broadcasting.
The above will be supported by more meaningful partnerships, according to the strategic plan. To support the mutual interest of their 214 member federations.
A biennial World Athletics Road Championships is planned. This will combine the World Half Marathon Championships, as well as a mass participation race and other elements such as the World Race Walking Team Championships. These are all proposed in the four-year plan.
The off-road championship is proposed for every other year, which could combine the World Athletics Cross Country Championships with other disciplines including trail and mountain running.
World Athletics will also push ahead with efforts to get cross-country into the Winter Olympics.
Following Sunday’s announcement of a new partnership with parkrun Global Ltd, is an attempt to increase participation at the grassroots level but also fans of the world-class or elite end, for example, the World Championships.
This makes sense. The average jogger of which there are many, could not identify with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now called World Athletics. They also could not identify the top athletes. There is a chasm between potential fans and the top end of the sport that does not exist (as much) in the MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL.
The alternating road and off-road championships will be launched in early 2023, according to the plan. Stay tuned.