Club Rules & Governance

Brandon Fern Hoppers Running Club Constitution
As at 1st March 2018

The name of the club is Brandon Fern Hoppers
The club colours are lime green, black and purple tops and black shorts
Club strip will be worn by members at all competitive events.

The headquarters of the club is Brandon Leisure Centre, Church Street, Brandon Suffolk.

To promote amateur athletics. To encourage team spirit. To offer advice, assistance and encouragement to all members of the club.

The interest of the club are vested in a committee consisting of chair, secretary, treasurer, vice chair and three other members and other members. The committee to be elected annually. The committee may fill any vacancy which may arise.

Membership is confined to amateur athletes
Minimum age of a member is 16, no maximum age.
Application for membership must be on a provided form and be accepted by the committee.
Members will be eligible for County race when their membership has reached 6 months.

Any member which the committee deems to have acted inappropriately towards other members, fellow runners, or members of the public, or to have brought the club or sport into disrepute in any way, may have their membership withdrawn along with any rights or privileges associated with membership.

The club committee reserves the right to refuse membership or renewal of membership to any person who has acted, or is likely to act, in a way which may bring the club or sport into disrepute in any way.

London Marathon Club Place through England Athletics Affiliation
Club members who apply for the London Marathon club place are required:

To have been a member of Brandon Fern Hoppers for a period of 12 months prior to the closing date set for applications to the Brandon Fern Hoppers marathon place allocation process, and affiliated to England Athletics (or its successor bodies) through Brandon Fern Hoppers since the commencement of the current membership year.

To have applied and been rejected from the national London Marathon ballot.

To have actively participated in club activities and training sessions as determined by the club committee (see addendum ii)

To hold Brandon Fern Hoppers as their first claim club.

To have not held the club London Marathon place in the two years previous or competed in the London Marathon in the year previous by any means. In exceptional circumstances (as judged by the committee), or in the case of there being no other eligible candidate, the committee may waive this rule.

To pay any fees or expenses associated with the place themselves.

To wear Brandon Fern Hoppers club colours when competing in the London marathon.

The London Marathon club entry will be allotted to an individual by a process set out by the committee and as defined in addendum i ‘London Marathon Place Allocation – Process’

If you are unable to run or to defer your place it is contrary to England Athletics rules (and by virtue of its affiliation to EA, also BFH club rules) to transfer your place to any other runner.

The annual finance accounts will be prepared to the 31st December in any year.
Cheques will be signed by 2 committee members and 3 members will be authorised to sign.

Annual subscription is due on 1st April from 2010 onwards.
The committee shall have the power to expel any member whose subscription is six months in arrears.
No member who has failed to pay their subscription is eligible to claim club membership in competitive events.

Annual Meetings
An Annual General Meeting will be held on the first Thursday of March unless otherwise agreed by the club committee. The secretary will provide the membership with 14 days notice of any variation to this date.
Officers and committee will be elected.
A financial report will be presented and the club accounts will be available for scrutiny
The committee will provide a summary of the years activities
The annual subscription will be set

Special Meetings
Special meetings can be called by the secretary giving 14 days notice to members stating the business to be discussed.

last updates 4 5 2006, 11 7 2006, 26 1 2009, 01 03 2018

Addendum (i)
London Marathon Place Allocation – Process
Upon the closing of the national ballot the committee should decide if it intends to wait to see if a place is awarded to the club or to put a process in place in anticipation of being awarded a place.
At a time dependent upon the decisions in point 1 the committee should invite members to submit their names to the committee for consideration by a given date.
This invitation should include communication of the compulsory criteria as per the constitution of the club, along with the current ‘active member’ guidance (see addendum ii).
Each candidate should include with their application evidence of their rejection from the national ballot and, if they wish, a short statement as to why they feel they meet the active member criteria and how their participation in the marathon would benefit the club.
At this point the process should also be explained by the committee to the club, namely that if more than one eligible candidate emerges then most likely there will be a draw, the committee may however use its discretion to award the place directly to an individual in exceptional circumstances. (see addendum iii)
After the closing date for applications the committee will confer to decide on the eligibility of the candidates.
The committee announces to the club either:
That there will be a ballot, in which case it should provide a date, time and venue and outline the format the draw will take.
That there is only one eligible candidate.
That they have made another decision and its reasons for that decision.
That there are no eligible candidates and the place will not be allotted in that year.
The outcome of this process should be communicated to all club members via email or other suitably inclusive means.
If the successful candidate becomes unable to run they may choose to defer their place (if The London Marathon / EA still offer this facility), or they may offer the place back to the club up to the point at which the governing body and The London Marathon will accept changes to the runner’s details. After this point the place may not be transferred as this would contravene England Athletics rules.
If the place has been allocated by means of a draw then the candidate whose name was second ‘out of the hat’ will be offered the place and so on.
Consequently in the event that a draw is made it must be drawn in full allocating each candidate a position.
If the place was allocated without a draw then in this circumstance it automatically reverts to the club committee to allocate. If time permits the committee should follow as closely as possible the usual process and criteria.

Addendum (ii)
Active Membership – Guidance for the Committee in the Marathon Place Allocation Process

The following is intended as guidance for the committee in assessing active membership on those occasions where it proves difficult or contentious. It is hoped that it contains useful examples of valued contributions to the club, and conveys some of the ethos of the club which has informed previous judgements.

It should be stated that occasions when a member should be deemed inactive will hopefully be rare and this option should only be used by the committee to protect the membership where it is felt someone is stretching any reasonable definition of active membership.

Defining an active member can clearly be a challenging task, weighing one person’s contribution to the club against another should only be done with the utmost tact and sensitivity, and only when it is strongly felt that the best interests of the club or its members are served by drawing such a distinction. This process will require that personal friendships and preferences be put to one side as much as is humanly possible.

Some discussion has been given in the past to setting out a minimum standard for activity but this is fraught with difficulty, such a system would either place onerous burdens on the club in terms of record keeping, or would make for a wholly inflexible system which might frustrate the will of the club and committee in awarding opportunities to deserving members.

It should be understood and taken into account that not everyone is in a position to be as actively involved in the club as they may wish, through a variety of reasons, and this should not necessarily be held against them. It is also considered important, however, to remember that without those who are able and willing to make that extra commitment we would struggle to have a club at all, and it behoves the club to recognise those members where possible.

Attendance at club runs should be a key indicator. The official club runs lie at the heart of the club, they provide most people’s first contact with the club, are a source of motivation and offer the comradery of belonging to a club. Whilst ongoing commitments to family or work may make attendance difficult and this should be understood, regular contact with the club should be an aim of all members wishing to be regarded as active.

Volunteering at the Wibbly Wobbly Log Jog or other events the club may organise is a vital part of club activity, not only does it provide us with the greater part of our income, allowing us to keep membership subscriptions low, but is also a contribution to the wider running community. As such, it means that this can be a genuinely altruistic act, unlike merely turning up at club runs or entering races under the club banner.

Other activities which might be regarded as part of the club ethos are also worthy of mention such as supporting new members, supporting those in training, and ensuring the safety of other runners. These should all be taken into account.

In addition it is important that the applicant is active in the current year of membership and that an application should not rely mainly on historical activity.

In the event of a draw being held the following criteria may be helpful in delineating candidates:

A candidates: Members who haven’t had the club place in last two years or run it by another means last year
B candidates: Members who ran the marathon by another means last year
C candidates: Members who have had the club place in the last two years

So, in this instance, if there are no A candidates, B can enter the draw, if there are no B candidates C’s can enter.

Precedents for not holding a draw or ballot (addendum iii)
As a point of information which may help inform the use of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause, the committee may be interested to note that during its twenty-nine year history the club has decided against holding a draw for the London Marathon place on only three occasions.

On each of these occasions the circumstances were very similar and the place was awarded to an American serviceman who was ending his tour of duty in the country and was consequently facing, what would likely be, their last opportunity to run in the London Marathon.