This was our 10th year of staging the BRITISH ATHLETICS ACADEMY STARTRACK Athletic Sessions and they are getting more and more popular every year, with over 120 youngsters aged 7-15 years taking part. All the youngsters were from the local community and it was our best turn out.
Each youngster on the scheme received a ‘Goodie Bag’ – a useful backpack containing a T-Shirt and either a Water Bottle or mini Vortex Howler, all courtesy of British Athletics.
Both weeks ran from Monday to Friday and were held at Wythenshawe Park Athletic Track the NEW HOME of Manchester Harriers & AC. Throwing disciplines included the Javelin, Shot Putt, Discus, Soft Hammer and the new Vortex Howler; jumping disciplines included the Triple Jump, Long Jump, Standing Long Jump and High Jump; track events included 60m, 75m, 80m, 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 600m, 800m and 1500m plus hurdles and mini-hurdles. Youngsters attending tried out all the events and most saw their abilities improve during the week. They learned new skills, had fun on the way, made new friends and had a very positive experience of Athletics.
The weather for both weeks varied from very warm with blue skies to pouring rain but we were able to make every session fun and varied, using the weather as an advantage rather than a hindrance. Despite the variable weather, nothing was missed off the list of events, with some agility sessions taking place indoors. Luckily we had some great days and made the most of the weather. Over the weeks we saw youngsters of varying ability and, hopefully, gave every one of them encouragement to get involved in Athletics and perhaps, one day, we will see them competing for the Club and maybe the Country!!
One day of each week saw us on the track at William Scholes Playing Fields for the ‘Mile Challenge’. All the youngsters took part with the younger athletes completing the Mile in relays of four over 16 laps with a rest of 3 laps in every four and the older athletes completing the four laps in one go. All the youngsters really enjoyed the challenge and each youngster got a Wythenshawe Games Medal on completion of the Challenge. For most of the youngsters this was a major achievement and will, hopefully, give them the incentive to carry on after the Startrack session finished.
As part of the STREET SPRINTS initiative with Manchester City Council and their Sport & Leisure Dept’s we also got over 120 youngsters to complete the STREET SPRINT 60M completion and a few have gone through to the MANACHESTER FINAL on Friday 30th August and may get through to the NATIONAL FINAL on Saturday 31st August both based in the Centre of Manchester, so GOOD LUCK to them all.
On the final day of each week, Friday, we were very fortunate to have the help of Carl Locke from QUAD KIDS who came along to assist with the session courtesy of England Athletics. Carl came along to hold one of the new athletic competition formats for both Schools and Athletic Clubs’ use, for youngsters from Year 3 up to and including Year 7. Should you fancy looking at this please go to the website. The weather was great and everyone had a fantastic time. At the end of the session Steve Yates (Chairman, Manchester Harriers & AC) and Debbie Beresford gave out the Academy Awards to all the youngsters who attended the sessions to reward their effort and ability.
Every youngster taking part was encouraged to come along and join Manchester Harriers & AC. They were given information on our activities and where and when we meet. As a Club we hope to encourage more youngsters into the sport and help them achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The Club could not do this without our Coaches, Officials and Helpers all of whom are unpaid volunteers who give their time to help promote athletics within the Stockport and Manchester Boroughs. So, a very big thank you to everyone who helped to put on the STARTRACK weeks, we could not do it without them and the amount of free time they commit to the Club and the promotion of Athletics. Our coaches really enjoy taking the sessions each year and come back year on year to help out. It is an opportunity for experienced coaches to pass on their knowledge to the newer/younger coaches and results in a much stronger relationship with the Club and a real team spirit. Twenty of our Young Coach/Leaders undertook the Level 1 Assistant Officials course during the sessions to help the Club further and to gain a qualification which they can use within athletics, showing their commitment and love for the Sport.
Manchester Harriers & AC get a great deal of support from being part of the Manchester Athletic Network which is a group of MANCHESTER clubs working together to promote Athletics in and around Manchester and the wider Greater Manchester area. The Network is a great asset as we exchange ideas and work together on projects to help athletics grow, giving youngsters, parents and volunteers a very positive and professional experience.
Should you wish to VOLUNTEER to help us prosper and grow, which in turn enables us to encourage more youngsters to take part and keep fit and healthy, please get in touch (see details below) and we will contact you shortly. No experience necessary – just lots of ENTHUSIASM!!!!
Manchester Harriers & AC