Athletes hope for autumn action after lost summer
Athletes and officials across Shropshire are hoping they will get a taste of action later in the year after seeing this summer’s programme decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
England Athletics have currently suspended all licensed competition activity to at least the end of June, and all club activity to at least the end of May, while the national fell runners association have cancelled all registered races for the foreseeable future.
That has resulted in a number of prestigious events in the county biting the dust, most notably the Annual Shropshire Track and Field Championships and the Shropshire Schools Track and Field Championships.
It has also meant that the Shropshire Young Athletes League meetings, between the Shropshire clubs up to the end of June have been cancelled as well as the Shropshire Schools Year 7 and Year 8 Championships and the Schools Combined Events Championships.
The big inter-county schools Mason Trophy meeting in June and the English Schools Championships, which were due to be held in Manchester in early July, have also been cancelled for 2020.
But there is hope that the lockdown restrictions will be eased sufficiently for the Telford Games Open Track and Field meeting, scheduled for the first Saturday in September, to be able to go ahead.
The Telford Stadium will be keen for some action with the Telford and Wrekin Council having invested a great deal in improving the facilities in the last six months.
That has included refurbishing the track with a new surface and remarking the lines, plus investing in a new hammer and discus cage that meets the upgraded UK Athletics safety requirements.
In addition, the council have also funded the refurbishment of the stand by adding 100 tiered seats. This was the first major improvement in this facility for more than 20 years and was due to be officially opened at a major track and field meeting in May or June.
It is not only track and field that is suspended – the popular parkruns that attract hundreds of runners of all ages every week are also not taking part.
The Ironbridge Half Marathon due to be held in April has been rescheduled for November 1, while other local races cancelled were the Lilleshall Monumental 10k and the Market Drayton 10k in June.
The DRE & Co Sexarathon Mid Week Race Series, which had attracted a large entry and sold out in just 19 hours this year, saw the first three races and the overall series cancelled. But it is hoped that the three remaining races can be held if national restrictions are lifted.
The Shropshire Summer Fell Running Series, sponsored by the Outdoor Depot, Church Stretton, is also on hold but officials are again hopeful that there will be some action later on in the year.