It is hope that this practical cum academic exercise
would benefit the current Committee since I have been
endorsed by the club to attend this course. I would
also share excerpts (in bite size) from my papers over
the 6 chapters in the club's magazine the Footloose
and my own website, www.runnersmalaysia.com.my
as a reference point for better club management. As
a new retiree, this course has given me the pleasure
and commitment towards self development and also meeting
a number of new friends.
History of Club
In early 1984, Kris Lee Siu Heng, a sales executive
with Nike and Alex Moh Chean Seng, a keen distance runner
mooted the idea of forming a distance running club,
while preparing for the inaugural Kuala Lumpur International
Marathon. Their dream gained momentum when they roped
in Raymond Teoh, then general manager of the company
promoting Nike products, Marina Chin our national sprint
queen, Dr. Ronnie Yeo, a medical doctor with the National
Sports Council and Dato' Professor Khairuddin Yusof
. They had their first meeting on 23 January 1984 at
Raymond's office and decided on the name of the club
"Pacesetters" from a word in a runner magazine.
The logo was adopted from running legend, Frank Shorter's
product logo with some variation. The constitution was
based on one from the Lights Athletic Club.
Kris Lee then approached Datuk Shahrir Abdul, the then
Minister of Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur to be patron.
Datuk Shahrir suggested that the club add the words
Athletic Club to the name so that it can be affiliated
with the Federal Territory Amateur Athletic Association
(FTAAA), hence the name Pacesetters Athletic Club. He
also consented to be the patron of the club.
The club was unofficially launched during the Kuala
Lumpur Marathon with about 10 runners wearing the club's
vest sponsored by Raymond's company, Roberston, Wilson,
Jamil (M) Sdn Bhd. Later the Pro-tem Committee decided
to organize a charity run on the launch date to create
an impact. Dr Ronnie came out with the concept paper
and the date of the run was fixed on 20 May 1984. The
run would start at Lake Garden and end at Petaling Jaya
Hilton car-park. The run attracted about 500 runners
and the club was born.
Vision Statement : We aspire to be the role model running
club in the country.
I recall when I was first elected president in March
2000, the Star Reporter, Stuart Michael asked me what
I want the club to be. I did not say we want to be the
biggest club but instead as a role model club for others
to follow. At that time the local running clubs were
in a weak position, the few famous clubs like SWIFT,
LIGHT and JETS had sort of closed down due to problems
of their own. The national association, Malaysian Amateur
Athletic Union (MAAU) was having problems of their own
and the local athletic fraternity got into the news
for all the wrong reasons. I wanted PACM to be a breath
of fresh air in the athletic arena.
1. We promote running as a sustainable
recreational activity among the grass root, catering
for individuals of all ages and capability
2. Act as an internal and external event organizer to
support the above.
I was very clear in my mind that our club is not going
to be an elitists' club, (unlike MR 25 in Singapore),
it will cater for individuals of all ages and capability.
It is a very inclusive club, so long you are keen run,
you are welcomed. You can be as young as 4 years old
or as old as 75, this is the club for you. In supporting
our Vision Mission Statement, we will organize events
for our members, families and the public who are interested
to run. In this regards I always remember the 3 generation
relay team formed up by our former treasurer, Chen Kok
Siong during the Fathers' Day Breakfast Run when his
father, his son and him formed the 3 generation relay
MR 25 is an exclusive club for elite runners in Singapore.
To join as a member, each individual must be able to
run the McRitchie Reservoir route within 25 minutes.
(4.8km for ladies) www.mr25.org.sg
The objectives of the club as stated in the constitution
drafted in 1984 and revised once before I took over
also clearly state what we are to achieve.
- to promote, develop and encourage the sport of running
in the country
- to foster mutual goodwill, understanding and friendship
between its members
- to promote and / or participate in sports and social
activities related to running both locally and internationally
- to develop and promote running programs for the
benefit of the community
- to develop and promote other form of outdoor sports
activities amongst its members.
You can see that our objectives tie in
nicely to our Vision Mission Statement. We also need
to carry out a SWOT Analysis to determine what are the
strength and weaknesses of the club in event management
at a micro level and then also to examine the macro
environment we are operating in and determine the opportunities
/ threats. Admittedly, this is something I did not do
while I was the president and looking back now, it is
an essential exercise that should be carried out each
year by the Committee. This is my SWOT Analysis based
on current financial management situation I can see
from outside the Committee;
The SWOT Analysis on Finance Management
- Strong support by sponsors on
- Strong balance sheet with adequate
cash resources due to prudent financial management
- Has a sizeable membership base
of 1,800 with a steady membership fees income
and a captive market
- Has developed alternative sources
of income via sales of products / services to
members and event management
- Change in treasurer every two
years as required by constitution
- Succession planning for treasurer
on the need to exercise to maintaining individuals'
health; more potential members
More new parks
are built by the City Hall and Municipals;
generate more runners
event owners coming to the club for help on
run event management and/or as sponsors
of operation, both products and services due
events in the market place
has adversely affect consumption behavior
of runners and sponsors seeking value proposition
Good Financial Management
We believe; to build wealth, we have
to earn, save and then invest. The club needs to be
financially independent so that we can do what we set
out to do for our members in a sustainable manner -
we don't ask for handouts and we are proud of it. Financial
mismanagement is usually a key reason for the demise
of a club; examples are many. Given this belief, we
place great emphasis to manage our finance strictly,
starting with recruiting a reliable treasurer with good
The treasury function is significant
in the organization chart as follows;
Existing Organisation Structure (2009)
The role of the treasurer is very distinct
from the rest of the functions. In the early days when
the constitution was first adopted, we have a rule that
the treasurer position has to be changed every year.
We later changed it to once 2 years. While the rationale
of having a new treasurer every two years may be a good
governance control, it too poses its own problem and
it is difficult for find capable individuals with finance
background willing to serve as honorary treasurer.
We have two positions in the treasury, one treasurer
and one assistant treasurer. Their functions are as
- Keeping the cash books and draw up the income and
expenditure accounts each month
- Preparing the budget by October each year
- Prepare event budget for specific event such as
the Pacesetters 15km
- Ensure all receipts are promptly banked in
- Supervise income and expenditures, including acting
as a signatory for all expenditures
- Prepare event accounts within 2 months upon the
completion of each event
- Prepare annual financial statements, including the
balance sheet, income and expenditure accounts and
the receipts & payments accounts for the endorsement
of the committee, the audit by the club's internal
auditors before submission to members for approval
at the club's Annual General Meeting.
This is not a complex piece in the club as our main
revenue is membership fees. Once we were able to increase
our membership to 1,000, we have been comfortable with
our level of income. Our main expenditure is printing
and mailing costs, the club magazine takes up a large
portion of the expenditure. The club has three categories
of membership, ordinary members, youth and senior (introduced
in 2009). In 2001, we have raised our membership to
RM36 annum and it is comfortable based on 1,000 member
base. We are conscious of the high attrition rate when
members may not renew their membership upon expiry.
We have two expiry dates for membership, June or December.
One month before expiry, we send out notices to members
notifying them of the renewal. Should a member does
not renew his membership, the mailing of the newsletter
will discontinue after 3 months. One final notice will
be sent 5 months after expiry and if no renewal happens,
the membership will be terminated based on the club's
constitution (6 months upon expiry).
After 2000, we started developing our second and third
source of income. The second source is retailing profit,
profit from selling club merchandize such a T-shirts,
Vests, bottle belts, energy bars and gel. We also generate
some sundry income (via bulk discount) from the trips
we organize to take part in events outside Kuala Lumpur
even though the intention is that we do it as a service
to our members. The third source that came in was from
event management (chapter 6). It started in 2003 and
has since been a steady source of income, growing from
strength to strength.
The club also invested into some operating assets such
as lap tops, A-Boards and a timing chips system to further
enhance our event management capability.
The club also get some sponsorship in kinds; from rooms
& F&B credit to malt drinks. These are usually
used up in our events and we seldom cash them.
When we first developed our newsletter, Footloose and
later our website, our intention was for communication
with our members and the public. We are happy that now
both our newsletter and website have generated steady
The club prepares two types of budget; the annual budget
and the event budget. The annual budget focuses on the
club's usual income and expenditure while the event
budget is for specific event such as the Pacesetters
In October each year, we draft our budget for the next
calendar year, write to the sponsors on our next year's
activities. Mostly sponsors can only confirm their sponsorship
by December or January, their own calendar budgeting.
Accounts are audited by February and the Annual General
Meeting is usually set on the third Saturday of March
each year with adequate notice given to the members.
The budget prepared is provisional and the budget allocation
(like how much we allocate to the racing team or the
youth team) is approved by the new committee during
the April meeting.
This budget is prepared before we embark on an event
like the Pacesetters 15km. The budget gave us a basis
to negotiate with the sponsors on the amount of sponsorship
to seek with a view that we at least breakeven in each
of our events. The budget is approved by the committee
at least 6 months before the event.
We have been frugal with our expenditure and when we
first started our internal track meet, we even recycled
our bibs. The club keeps a small office within the office
of an office bearer of the club at a nominal rental.
Due to our prudential financial management and sponsorship
over the few years, the club has accumulated adequate
cash resources that we are prepared to use as working
capital for our events pending written confirmation
of sponsorship - a critical strength of the club; able
to commit with service providers in advance to meet
timeline. Some sponsors even pay us well after the event
but we are able to honor all our commitments to our
service providers as and when they fall due - in commercial
terms, they call it working capital.
Accounting for Finance
Our main accounting revolves around the cash book, kept
in an electronic spreadsheet. We handle a tremendous
amount of receipts in cash and cheques, more than RM500,000
in 2008. It takes tremendous discipline to ensure all
the receipts are accounted for, its completeness and
banked in promptly. We use pre-numbered receipt books
for general receipts for membership which the treasurer
is the sole custodian. Another set of special receipts
are used for event registration. The two treasurers
need to be very diligent when dealing with individuals
that hold receipt books (Group Leaders and certain members
of the committee) At the end of each month, the treasurer
has to ensure that all collections are accounted for
by individuals receiving money. Each month copies of
the cashbook is tabled at the monthly Committee meeting.
Our payment system is based on a simple open file system,
whereby all the unpaid bills are filed into an arch
level file and paid during the monthly Committee meeting
via cheques; ie all committee members are fully aware
of the cheque payments made each month. This practise
promotes transparency at the highest level.
In December each year, we have to accrue for any unpaid
expenses to enable the club to close the accounts the
week after 31 December each year. This is one deadline
we meet to allow the club to hold its Annual General
Meeting by the third week of March each year. We understand
very few clubs can hold their AGM at such an early date.
Evaluation & Reporting
Since we have the discipline of presenting monthly accounts,
our year end accounts usually do not pose any surprises.
The draft year end accounts are presented to the auditors
for audit in January and by the February Committee meeting,
the Committee is able to adopt / endorse the audited
accounts before we circulate to the members for the
AGM in March.
We like to stress here that such financial discipline
is very key to the longevity of the club. We have seen
the demise of several running clubs over the years,
usually due to financial mismanagement. We need to have
the same discipline in financial management as training
for a marathon!
Proposed Action Plan
|Policy / Objectives
||Draft a policy guide
on event sponsorship for club events, on franchises
we have developed over the years.
||President and individuals
appointed by him
|A formal policy guide
to facilitate negotiation with potential sponsors
revenue as a sustainable source of income
||Review current advertising
rates vis-à-vis competing rate in the market
and propose revised rates
||Vice President in charge
|A proposed revised rates
for the approval our the Exco
||Mining the club database
for members with financial discipline to join Exco
||A few names for the
Exco to consider
The club has achieved it vision of being a financially
independent running, able to fund it own events for
the members and the public. Considering that the club
merely charge RM36 membership fees per annum, it is
a club that everyone wishing to run can afford to join.
Lately, the club even introduce a senior membership
for those above 60, paying just RM18 per annum. The
low membership fees did not stop us from building up
a strong coffer, what we term as our war chest. This
sum of money will allow the club to operate effectively
on projects / events prior to the final confirmation
The club has successfully developed additional sources
of income such as event income, sale of merchandize
and advertisement income through our website and newsletter.
We have prudently invested into enhancing our event
management capability with tools such as chip timing
The club's challenge forward is to be able to continue
recruiting capable treasurer to manage our finance prudently,
enforce those controls we have set up. As we are very
much a people business, we have to strive to build our
human resources pool in good financial management as
well as other key positions, those with good leadership.
This itself is a continuous challenge.
Wan Yew Leong
5 November 2009