A heads-up on the National Athletics League (NAL) for the 2024 track season…

Following last season, there has been a lot of debate about the structure of the NAL going forwards. Much of this was driven by the cost increases that teams were encountering over the years and also an apparent lack of desire for some athletes to want to travel too far away from home. The conclusion of this consultation period resulted in the majority of clubs voting for a new structure starting in 2024.

Briefly, the structure of the NAL (32 clubs) will be a ‘Premiership’ Division consisting of just the top 8 teams. Below this, there will be four parallel ‘Championship’ Divisions which are regionalised North, South, East and West – each containing 6 teams. For the Championship Divisions, of which BAC is a member of the South Division, the season will comprise 4 matches…. Rounds 1 to 3 will be matches meeting the teams within your own division – and, as such, not so far from home. After the three rounds, the top two teams in each Championship Division will go to a 4th Round match where those 8 teams will compete against each other for promotion to get into the Premiership Division – two teams getting promoted. Those teams that don’t make it to the promotion match will also get a 4th match where the remaining teams in the South division will meet the remaining teams in the West Division.

The other significant change is the introduction of standards. This means that in order to score points an athlete must reach a minimum performance standard in that event. These standards should be set at a ‘reasonable’ level but will be set such to stop, say a 5000m race going on several minutes after the winner has crossed the line because someone is jogging round for a point. The values for the standards are yet to be agreed.

Bournemouth AC are in the Division “Championship Regional South” along with Belgrave Harriers, City of Portsmouth AC, Crawley AC, Kingston & Poly AC and Tonbridge AC.

Our 2024 matches are:

Saturday 1st June at Portsmouth
Saturday 22nd June at Crawley
Sunday 7th July at Kingston, London

Round 4 will be held Saturday 4th August at venues to be determined at this time.

Once again, Suzi Shepherd will be managing the ladies side of the team, and myself, the men’s side.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about the NAL for 2024… please do ask!

Tim Hughes.