“Thanks to everyone from the jogscotland community – you do phenomenal work every day of the week, all year round, so thank you.” – Mark Munro
With just a few days remaining until scottishathletics CEO Mark Munro moves on to a new role at UK Athletics, he has paid tribute to the togetherness of the jogscotland community.
Mark has been with scottishathletics for a decade, first as head of development and latterly CEO. Reflecting on his experiences with jogscotland in that time, he picked out highlights such as the SAMH partnership, our Community Strides project, and the growing closeness between jogscotland groups and athletics clubs.
Mark also praised the way the community has responded to challenges including the covid crisis, and the removal of jogscotland’s Scottish Government funding in 2016/17.
Reflecting in part on the most recent months, Mark said: “I’d like to say thank you to the jogscotland community and particularly all our jog leaders across all the jogging groups in the country. I think this has been a terrible time for everyone.
“But we all keep a close eye on the activities of our jogging groups and when you see the kind of connectivity within groups, how they’re connecting with their members during that period, some of the initiatives that have occurred, how they communicated with members, kept them active: I think it absolutely embodies the spirit of what jogscotland’s about. It’s about being together, helping people, whether that’s through physical challenges or whether it’s mental or social, and I think that the jogscotland community has certainly proven that over the last number of years.”
Looking back to the funding cuts jogscotland faced in 2017, which posed a threat to the network’s existence, he praised members’ response as “phenomenal”, adding: “I’ll never forget how much the community within jogscotland pulled together through social media, through other forms of media whether through email support, through forums – it was incredible and we’ll always be grateful for that support back then.”
In response to that funding challenge, jogscotland forged a new partnership with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), which Mark identified as one of the highlights of recent years: “The SAMH partnership is arguably one of the biggest success stories – I think the project with SAMH can only be successful because of the togetherness and how united our members within jogscotland are, and that appreciation that we’re in it together, to support each other.”
Given his background in club development – a role he is shortly to fulfil at UKA – it’s perhaps unsurprising that Mark also praised the closer links that have been forged in recent years between jogscotland groups and more traditional athletics clubs : “I think the club community really respect jogscotland, and jogscotland groups, in terms of what they’re trying to achieve. We’re now seeing lots and lots of jogscotland groups attached to traditional running clubs and athletics clubs, and you can see that partnership go from strength to strength.
“The other side of that is that you’re seeing a number of really strong jogscotland groups progressing and growing to the point where they’ve affiliated as running clubs or jogging clubs within scottishathletics, as formal clubs. So I think the sport in terms of where jogscotland sits and where club activity sits, is far more connected and certainly the staff treat it as all part of the same programme and pathway, and value each exactly the same.
“Because whether you’re a jogger, as I am these days, or whether you’re Laura Muir or Jake Wightman, it doesn’t matter, we’re all part of the same sport, we’re all in it together.”