We seem to have been in lockdown for far too long, but finally we are back! Following the first stage of the Government’s relaxation of COVID restrictions, due to take effect on 29th March, we are finally able to train again, with the first sessions taking place at the Rugby and Northampton tracks on Tuesday 30th.
Good COVID hygiene measures will remain in place, particularly social distancing and hand sanitising. In addition, we urge everyone to enrol with our online membership system, Coacha, and register with it online prior to attending sessions. If you are not already using Coacha, here is a link: https://www.coacha.co.uk/
(If you have forgotten your password, please click on “Forgot your password?” on the sign-in screen.)
Coacha is straightforward to use and helps us to run COVID-secure training environments in line with our risk assessments.
We are also delighted to announce a major £230,000 refurbishment of the Rugby track, which is scheduled to start on 7th April. Funded by Rugby Borough Council, the six-to-eight-week programme will include a new Polytan eight lane track and runways, new jump landing pits, adjustable water jump barrier and “smart” timing gates that can give athletes and coaches performance data via an app.
During the refurbishment period, Rugby-based athletes will be using a variety of venues, including Ashlawn and Rugby Schools and the track at Moulton. Coaches will provide full details to their squads.
At the AGM earlier this month, we looked back over a year interrupted by COVID but still crammed with successes, ranging from James Wright’s Lockdown League Gold to new club records by Dom Jones and Josh Lay, to gold for Craig Murch, British Hammer Champion 2020! It was a pleasure to award honorary membership to both Josh and Craig. We looked back on successful Open meetings at Rugby and race nights at Northampton. We saw how COVID had caused us to adapt – and sometimes improve – what we offer, whether this was the Virtual 5K League organised by Sarah Davis, or the switch to smaller training groups by the Ladies Running Group, or the Race to the North Pole with almost £1000 raised for Clic Sargent. A particular highlight for me has been the way parents and others have stepped forward to assist with coaching.
We looked ahead too. There will be athletics this season. The Youth Development League has already announced its fixture programme, as has the Midland Vets League. The East Midlands Grand Prix will take place, albeit with chip timing, wave starts and so forth. We are raring to go! We have dozens of new children, eager to run, jump and throw. We hope to be able to welcome every child who wants to try athletics, and not have to turn any away, but this will require helpers so we can maintain safe coaching ratios. No experience is needed to be a helper – just willingness (and completion of an England Athletics Self Declaration form) – you will work with experienced coaches. We have over 40 children already confirmed for the delayed cross-country club starting at Abington Park next Saturday. Parent helpers are welcome.
We are an all-age, family-oriented athletic club, dedicated to the promotion of both recreational and competitive athletics in the community. Some of us are vying for a place in this year’s Tokyo Olympics; others are engaged in lockdown damage limitation! Together, though, we have found that athletics, at its best, enhances life.
Please keep an eye on the Website & Facebook page in the next couple of weeks as we will be adding fixtures as soon as dates and venues are confirmed
I wish everyone success and health in the coming season.
Chairman, Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club