Nov 24, 2008, 5:37 AM
Since its inception in September 1994, Brufut Marathon Run Association has been engaged in the promotion of long distance runs in The Gambia on annual basis. It has attracted a large number of runners from both the Gambia and other countries worldwide. It gives opportunity to professional long distance runners and those who run as a hobby or for fun. Its popularity has been on the increase year in, year out.
However, as the association edges closer to a half marathon and eventually to full marathon, the run has lost its most enthusiastic runners, those non-competitive runners including children and the elderly. Consequently, the usual fanfare and ambiance that characterize typical Brufut Run is gradually diminishing, resulting in the sharp drop in the number of participants at the 16th edition of the Run on the 18th December 2010.
In the light of the aforementioned, the executive committee of the Association decided to form a running club inorder to reverse the downward slide of participation and re-ignite interest in the annual run besides catering for the needs of the larger public who run as a hobby or for fun. The maiden Run is scheduled to take place on 9th January 2011 at 9am at the Brufut market to and from Ghana Town, a distance of two kilometers.
Aims and Objectives of the Club
a. create a body that will be called the Brufut Running Club that would give opportunity to everybody irrespective of age, gender, race, etc to run for fun.
b. foster greater social cohesion among the members
c. create a day when people can come together to know each other and exchange ideas
d. serve as a form of advertisement for the annual Run
e. serve as a training ground for those who want to take up running as a profession
f. enable the running public to run the whole year round
g. attract foreign runners and tourists to run for fun.
h. generate income for charities
Initially, membership of the club will be free to everybody. Anybody can become a member by registering with the chief organiser of the BMRA. This is important to enable many people to become members. Every member will be allocated with a membership code for example BRC1, BRC2 so on and so forth for identification purposes and each member will have to supply a contact number to be reached on as and when it is necessary. Each member should also have the number of the chief organizer so that information can reach the club if such a member cannot run on any Run day. This will be announced on each Run day so that all members of the Club will be kept abreast about the welfare of each other.
To bolster membership, every member would be requested to invite at least two new members to the club. The two new members would also do the same. This will increase members and at the same time ensure a friendly membership.
Target Groups for the core membership
Owing to socio-cultural reasons, sports in the Gambia has a youthful face. Therefore, the steering committee shall target certain groups of people to become members as a result of the fact that in The Gambia sports is being perceived as an occupation for people within specific age brackets. Culturally, elders are not generally enthusiastic about sports in general. Though not prohibited by religion, religious adherents usually frown on sports. This is why youth groups such as football clubs, youth associations both male and female and tourists will be the primary targets to become members. This rule will not in any way exempt anyone outside such age brackets or description from joining the club.
Since the town of Brufut is blessed with very fine beaches and wide roads, the running club will organise runs for fun covering a distance to be determined by the BMRA either on the beach or on the main road starting from Ghana Town to Brufut Lower Basic School where it will end.
There will be no prizes to be won and expenditure to organise it will be nil. Nevertheless, the town authorities and the health workers would be made aware of the activities of the Running club.
To be determined by the sub-committee of the club, the runs will be done either weekly Sundays, fortnightly or monthly. Unless for unforeseen circumstances, the duration of the runs will be just one hour thirty minutes.
Running boots, stop watches, first aid box for minor injuries
The chief organiser of the BMRA will seek for people with the requisite technical know-how to plan, implement and monitor the runs. Their duties and responsibilities will include:
1. Map out the route for the run.
2. Co-ordinate the start and the finishing of the run to identify the first ten runners to arrive at the finishing point depending on the number of runners at each run.
3. Give technical advise to the runners inorder to prevent unnecessary over exhaustion and inform them on how they can have effective rest periods after the run
4. Enlighten the runners about the health gains associated with running.
5. Help identify good runners so that there will be different categories of runners running at different periods.
This will create a chance for the fastest runners to be in one group, the medium runners to be in another group and the slowest also to be in a group of their own.
The Chief organiser of the BMRA will serve as the chairman of a steering committee to be enacted by the BMRA on an adhoc basis until the members of the club decide to form a structure that will be put in place to manage the affairs of the club.
The proposed structure will be like this:
The president - to preside over the affairs of the club
The vice president - to assume the responsibilities of the president in his or her absence
The communication secretary- to serve as a liaison officer between the members on one hand and between the club and the outside world on the other hand.
The club will in the long run fund itself by membership contributions. The amount and the mode of payment will be determined by the members themselves. The management and control of the club’s finance will be entirely left with the club.
The club together with the BMRA can seek donations for the welfare of the club and in the long run, unless otherwise desired by the members of the club. When the running club matures, it will be left to operate on its own but remain part of the Brufut Marathon Run Association with both the president and the treasurer of the club as part of the decision making body of the BMRA.
Rules and regulations
The running club will formulate its own rules and regulations in consultation with the chairman of the BMRA.
What is of fundamental importance to the success of this initiative is to desist from activities that would instead of cementing our interpersonal relations, rather sever our friendship ties and or divide us.
Therefore all rules should be enacted to engender greater understanding amongst ourselves regardless of gender, politics, tribe, race, geographical location, language, belief etc.
Termination of membership
To be determined by the Running club members.
NB:These are guidelines outlining the desire of the BMRA to encourage people to run so that all the benefits stated above can be attained. It is not an imposition on a would be Running Club. The Running Club if successfully formed will decide what is best for it.
By and for the BMRA executive.
Ba S. Jabbi