LIKE many sports clubs, Stratford Athletic Club has been majorly impacted by the pandemic, but member and town Mayor Cllr Tony Jackson is determined to keep spirits high.
The club’s bases at Stratford Sports Club and track at Stratford High School remain closed and social distancing has prevented any of the usual group training activities, but this has not completely left runners high and dry.
Club chairman Paul Hawkins said: “All competition has effectively been ruled out for the summer months. A possible return to the track is currently under active review which would allow some coached sessions for small groups but we are still not sure when any form of racing will resume.
“In the interim period, all sections of the club have introduced some virtual competition. Seniors have been running solo over a set distance and submitting their times, the under 17s arranged a competitive team challenge and the under 13s organised a home pentathlon.”
Cllr Jackson, who is also the athletic club’s secretary, is keen to continue to play an active role during his Mayoral year – official duties permitting.
He said: “Exercise has been incredibly important to our members during lockdown and anything that can be done to keep them motivated and engaged is a real positive.
“The mile is an iconic race distance which appeals to the full age range of our members and the suggestion to hold a Mayor’s Magic Mile race was something I was keen to support.”
Race organiser Sarah Bland said: “Some 120 members took part – the youngest at ten and the oldest at 77 – both posting very speedy times!
“A huge number of people clocked their fastest ever mile, which was great to see being reported daily via our very active Facebook group.
“The inclusivity of the whole club was very special and we hope to continue similar competitions in the future.”