The National Athletics League [NAL] Returns soon
– A competition to be nurtured
The BAL — British Athletics League — was founded in 1969 and was followed in due course by the women’s version, the UKWAL.
Both competitions enjoyed great highs over the decades and their place at the heart of British domestic league competition was respected. But the format grew tired and the distances to be travelled by athletes, perhaps to do a steeplechase in last place, on a 400 mile round trip to Wigan was a somewhat fragile business model.
But a few years ago the reboot came, with, crucially, a merging of the two competitions, so now a club must field a men’s and ladies’ team on the same day at the same venue. This makes for a hive of splendid activity and atmosphere, and OpenTrack savours its association with the NAL as one of the key jewels in our crown: a precious sporting competition which has a storied past but also looks to the future.
The latest structure of the league is that 37 clubs now partake in a Premiership , Championship , and National One. The 16 clubs in the top two leagues are richly interchanged through the season, ensuring plenty of variety in opposition for the athletes.
The League’s three dates are June 11th, July 15th and August 5th. The Premiership action will be at Manchester, Eton, Nottingham, Woodford Green, Glasgow, and Birmingham, the Championship at Bedford, Basingstoke, Chelmsford, Yeovil, Bournemouth, and Liverpool, and National 1 at Reading, Trafford, and Milton Keynes.
All four corners of our island are home to this array of venues, and the appeal of this competition shines through when athletes occasionally make huge journeys and sacrifices, despite so often much happening closer to home.
It is worth noting to the breadth and scope of clubs in the UK who are fully on board with the ideal:
OpenTrack makes the athletic experience as rewarding as possible with the best, smoothest, and swiftest results service out there. A glance at last year’s results show how quickly and seamlessly we brought the results to both players and patrons.
Whether it be individual races, the team competition, here, or our regular top 10 list for best performances of the day.
With results going live as soon as possible after each event, it is a much richer experience for all involved to see what is happening during the competition, rather than wait for what could sometimes be a few days in the past.
There are a remarkable 44 different events per meet, which means 220 outcomes for OpenTrack to present on each matchday in a precise, timely, and easy to navigate manner.
It is a really rewarding mission to support such a key bedrock of UK domestic athletics like this, and it is our hope that the leagues will continue to thrive in 2023 with competition both well-attended and of a rising standard. The brief glimpse above shows some very pleasing depth.