Since taking on the job of Secretary in 2006, I find that the writing of this report comes round remarkably quickly and once again I have found myself composing this too late for inclusion in the February Newsletter. An error I promised myself wouldn’t happen again in 2008! The problem is that the track record of membership attendance at our AGM is abysmally low (last year there was NO paid up members attending) so hardly any of the membership gets to read it. Not much motivation therefore for me to write it! However, hopefully, this is now rectified. More of that later.
The year starts with membership renewals pouring in and can I thank all of you who always pay early and plead with the late payers (predominately the same people) to change their ways. I know that filling in the Renewal Forms is a tad boring but you wouldn’t believe how some information changes without me being notified and this is very often the only way I pick it up to enable our database to be updated and as accurate as possible. With the possible phasing out by the banks of cheques we will also have to look at alternative ways of collecting yearly subscriptions some time in the future.
Membership levels over the last few years have remained fairly static, which is encouraging but the influx of new members each year has gradually seen a decrease, although the ratio of men to women has narrowed. Women are at last catching up!
Our 1st Claim Membership hovers around the 90 mark and our track & field team are fast becoming established in the Midland Veterans T&F League. Any members of road running clubs not affiliated for T&F can compete for us legitimately on the track but only after applying to Athletic Services with an “Other Discipline Form”. This should be done pre-season.
We continue to be involved in the organisation of both our own and National events and keeps your committee active behind the scenes. No doubt reports of these events will appear elsewhere but I’d just like to mention three events that we contributed in a major way.
* The National Masters Open Road Relays take place each year at Sutton Park in May and are organised by us on behalf of the BMAF with considerable help from Birmingham City Council. Thanks must go to Irene Jones and her team without their input the event wouldn’t take place quite so professionally.
* The BMAF Track & Field Championships although not organised by us have a considerable input by your committee, particularly Irene Nicholls & Margaret Simpson on results.
* Finally, at short notice, we put together a package to allow the International Masters Cross Country to go ahead in Birmingham. A big thank you to Irene Nicholls for taking on the lion’s share of the work.
After much thought and deliberation I decided on a personal note to try to write a Blog. For those who don’t know, a blog is basically an online diary. After realising the potential of this free service, we thought it would be a good idea to produce a blog just for the International XC. I misinterpreted the request and initiated a blog for MMAC. This was quickly put right and the EAMA Blog subsequently had, in October & November, nearly 6000 views. Meanwhile I also developed the MMAC Blog and between October and the end of the year we had almost 3500 visitors. This blog provides a quick and efficient way to post details of events/news etc to as many members as possible and compliments both the Newsletter and our official website.
In 2008 we initiated an “opt-out” system for our Newsletter and many of you have continued this with your 2010 renewals. The result is that we have currently over 200 members willing to read/print the Newsletter from the online copy on our website. This represents a saving of well over £1000 per year and helps to keep your subscriptions down at a low-level. The problem I had with this is that mass emailing wasn’t an easy task and was often seen as sending spam. The result was that many emails bounced back to me as undeliverable and some never reached their destination because of the way personal firewalls were set up. Dealing with this was both time-consuming and time-wasting. A solution was to get you, our members on email, join the Yahoo Group, which enabled me to send one message only and reach all of you. How good this proved to be depended on the members co-operation and to date we have nearly 120 signed up out of potentially more than 400. This has meant that some of you have not been reading the notifications of when the Newsletter goes online. I have done my best to be able to reach as many of you as possible with all the latest news and developments via the Yahoo Group; the MMAC Blog; the MMAC Website and the Newsletter. In addition I am on both Twitter & Facebook, so there really is no excuse for not being aware of what’s going on. The information is there, please do your bit and sign up free to the Yahoo Group and bookmark as favourites all 3 sites. To those who do not have internet access, then you must rely on the Newsletter as ever.
I shall therefore be posting a copy of this report for all to read before the AGM on the MMAC Blog.
Personally, I should like to give a big thank you to your Officers, Irene Nicholls; Colin & Margaret Simpson; Brian Owen and the General Committee who keep me in my place and offer me such wonderful support, especially when master’s matters get a bit excruciating!
Tom Morris — April 2010