TUMBLER RIDGE?S ATHLETICS TRACK TAKES SHAPE

In 2005 Tumbler Ridge received a $10 000 grant from True Sport for the promotion of healthy lifestyles and sport in the community. This was part of the True Sport Award that Tumbler Ridge won that year, following an entry submitted by the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society (WNMS).

Following a proposal from WNMS to the District of Tumbler Ridge for the development of improved athletics facilities on the field below TRSS, and after extensive liaison, the $10 000 was provided to WNMS in the fall of 2007 to oversee this project. WNMS coaches and TRSS teachers had already been active in this field for the past few years despite few facilities, coaching track-and-field and cross-country to kids and adults.

Despite the bad weather, work is already underway. WNMS volunteers Fred and Shawna Booker hauled in loads of sand and greatly improved and expanded the long jump pit. Birgit Sharman and her team of helpers have painted the 400 metre main track lane, and four 100 metre sprinting lanes, using the line painter purchased by the District in 2007. This will need to be repeated a few times each season at an ongoing operational cost.

Special seed at heavily discounted prices is on its way for the proposed seeding of the track area. Once the seeding and basic leveling is complete, the area will be harrowed. This will all provide in the long term for an improved running surface that is not hard on runners? knees. The 400 metre track oval, with its soft surface, will also become an ideal fitness destination for speed walkers and other walkers.

A shot put circle constructed to specifications will soon follow, utilizing the skills and expertise of a local company. If further donated funds become available, there are plans to build a discus circle and acquire a discus safety cage as well. Regulation-height steeples will be built for steeplechase training.

This activity is matched by tremendous enthusiasm for the track-and-field program at TRSS, with over twenty participants, a record in recent years. These athletes will train locally and compete at a variety of meets in the Peace Region and Prince George, with the hope of qualifying for the provincial championships.

It is worth noting that Asafa Powell, the fastest human being in the history of sprinting, trains on a grass track in Jamaica and has less in the way of other training facilities than we enjoy in Tumbler Ridge. A state-of-the-art synthetic running surface is ideal for competition, but is not needed for training. Guided by this principle, in trying to develop adequate facilities with the least expenditure, WNMS will continue to work on this project into the future, and appreciates the confidence shown in its programs by the District of Tumbler Ridge.