MM interview Olympians as they champion grassroots athletics

MM interview Olympians as they champion grassroots athletics

It’s not every day that you get the chance to chat with two Olympians ahead of a global championships. But our Message Matters team working with legal firm Lindsays had the opportunity to do just that recently as international athletes descended on Glasgow.

We interviewed legendary middle-distance runner and TV commentator Steve Cram as well as Scotland’s most-decorated track and field athlete of all time, Eilidh Doyle, about the importance of grassroots athletics just days before the World Indoor Athletics Championships.

The pair were part of a panel assembled by Lindsays for a special sports forum.  They and scottishathletics chief executive Colin Hutchison were in conversation with Ian Beattie, who is chief operating officer at Lindsays as well as being the chair of UK Athletics.

Working alongside the teams at Lindsays and scottishathletics, we jointly secured coverage for the forum via BBC Radio Scotland, The Herald, The Courier, Perthshire Advertiser, Scottish Legal News and across scottishathletics’ busy channels.

Legal firm Lindsays hosted a sports forum on Athletics in Scotland at the Raddison Blu hotel in Glasgow city centre. The panel discussion was chaired by Ian Beattie, who is chief operating officer of Lindsays as well as being chair UK Athletics. The other panelists were athletics commentator and Olympic medalist Steve Cram, Scottish Olympian Elidh Doyle and Colin Hutchinson, chief executive of scottishathletics. Tuesday February 27th 2024. Picture: Jamie Simpson / Lindsays

On the importance of local athletics clubs, Olympic 1,500 metres medallist Cram said: “They still have a massive role to play.

“How we encourage young people into our sport is getting increasingly challenging. That’s where clubs have an incredibly important job to do. But we’ve got to help them as much as we can – through federations, through sponsorship.

“We’ve got to find ways to help clubs survive in the modern world. It’s harder now for amateur sports clubs to exist than it used to be.”

Doyle, an ambassador for the indoor championships, also highlighted the impact of strong grassroots sport – and the need for businesses to get behind it with sponsorship to support the next generation of athletes. 

She said: “Without grassroots events you don’t get your Laura Muirs and Josh Kerrs. That’s how you build. It’s fantastic when you see the end result. But the crucial part is the grassroots. That’s where the stepping stones are made. It’s hugely important.”

Lindsays, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Perth and Crieff, is one of the most prominent supporters of grassroots athletics in Scotland.

Its sponsorship of scottishathletics’ Scottish XC Season is thought to be one of the longest-running deals of its kind in the country, helping clubs nationally open opportunities for people to run.

And the forum was staged just days after almost 2,300 athletes from across Scotland competed in the National XC at Callendar Park, Falkirk – the tenth year that the championships has been supported by Lindsays.

Speaking after the forum, Beattie said: “To hear some of the insight and experiences from Steve, Eilidh and Colin not just on elite athletics, but how the success of that can impact upon grassroots sport was just fantastic. We’re really grateful to them for sharing their time.

“As a firm, Lindsays is incredibly proud to be able to support athletics in Scotland. Through our sponsorship of the likes of the Lindsays XC with scottishathletics, we hope we are playing our part in encouraging people into running and healthier living. From parkrunner to ultra-runner, it is a sport everyone can enjoy.”

Legal firm Lindsays hosted a sports forum on Athletics in Scotland at the Raddison Blu hotel in Glasgow city centre. The panel discussion was chaired by Ian Beattie, who is chief operating officer of Lindsays as well as being chair UK Athletics. The other panelists were athletics commentator and Olympic medalist Steve Cram, Scottish Olympian Elidh Doyle and Colin Hutchinson, chief executive of scottishathletics. Tuesday February 27th 2024. Picture: Jamie Simpson / Lindsays

Pictures by Jamie Simpson