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'Back the track' plea for Wharfedale athletics facilities
A public meeting to drive forward a campaign to create Wharfedale’s first running track will be held in Otley next week.
Otley Athletic Club unveiled Back the Track – intended as a fitting Olympics legacy scheme following the success of local sportsmen and women at London 2012.
Now those plans, which could involve many of the area’s sports clubs teaming up to get the shared-facility built, are starting to take shape.
The athletic club currently has to rent space from Otley Cricket Club to train, and believes having a dedicated track installed in Otley would help raise standards for everyone.
Club member, Simon Anderson, spearheading the campaign, hopes representatives from lots of groups will turn out for the meeting at the Horse and Farrier pub on Wednesday to find out more.
He said: “Several locations and various options for a track and clubhouse are currently being considered, which, when complete, we hope will be a facility for the whole community.
This is a much-needed facility that will help boost sporting standards across the areaSimon Anderson, Otley Athletics Club
“We are very keen to talk to other parties, such as sports and health clubs and local schools, because we are proposing a full-time resource that will be self-funding. But to get the project up and running, we need the help of people with specific skills, such as funding, finance and design.
“This is a much-needed facility that will help boost sporting standards across the area, so if people want to get involved in sport on the back of what they have seen at the Olympics, please ‘back the track’.”
The town’s MP, Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West), who completed the Jane Tomlinson 10th Anniversary Challenge earlier this year, is supporting the bid.
He said: “It is vital more people are supported and encouraged to follow in the footsteps of local heroes, such as Lizzie Armitstead and the Brownlee brothers, and have the space to explore their true potential.”
Mr Anderson added: “If you currently want to use a running track you have to travel to Harrogate, Leeds or Keighley. There just isn’t one in this area, and it’s time we had one if we are to pass the baton to future Olympians.”
The meeting will start at 7.45pm. Anyone interested in attending is asked to e-mail Mr Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or to contact Richard Hamer on 07906 686596.
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