Relay from Olympic Park to Winchester to highlight need for new sports centre (From This is Hampshire)
When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Relay from Olympic Park to Winchester to highlight need for new sports centre
8:00am Friday 7th September 2012 in News
A Track to Track relay is to take place this Sunday after the closing of the Paralympic Games and will see a baton carried 100 miles through the night to the Winchester Stadium.
Starting at 1am in the East London Olympic Park, over 40 relay runners will take turns to carry a baton to the University of Winchester Athletics Stadium, Bar End.
In the hope of bringing some Olympic success to Winchester, the baton will contain a scroll summarising a public petition for a new community sports and leisure centre in Winchester.
Emma Back, Director of Fit for the Future, a local voluntary group who organised the petition, said: “Winchester is a very active community, with lots of successful sports clubs, several of which have long waiting lists.”
Ms Back explains her fears that many existing facilities are under huge pressure: “Many are outdated, some urgently need repair, and few meet competition standards.”
She added: “We desperately need a multi-sport centre that can serve everyone, whether they’re new to exercise or aiming for the next Olympics.”
The 100-mile relay route, organised by Winchester and District AC, follows the Thames, then the Wey Navigation and Basingstoke Canal, before turning south and continuing on minor roads until it reaches Winchester.
There, the baton will even be carried a length in St Swithun’s School pool before continuing into the city and to its final destination at the 100m straight of the athletics track in the Athletics Stadium.
Runners include top local international athlete Louise Damen, torchbearers Neil Barker and Team GB ‘ultrarunner’ Sandra Bowers. Winchester MP Steve Brine is supporting the event, and will be handed the baton as it crosses the finish line.
Louise Damen, who narrowly missed out on running the marathon for Team GB at the Olympics, said: “It would be fantastic to use the momentum of London 2012 to create a sporting legacy here in Winchester.
“A new multi-discipline sports facility would inspire future champions as well as enabling the benefits of sports and leisure to be enjoyed by the wider community.”
Organiser and Director of TzRuns Ian Berry said: “We all feel inspired by the London 2012 Olympics and wanted the opportunity to celebrate in the best way we know how – by running!
“We hope it’ll show others what runners are capable of, and help launch Fit for the Future to help the city of Winchester to become a sporting mecca for our next generation of Olympians.”
The baton is due to arrive at the Bar End athletics track at around 5pm, with activity stalls and refreshments available on site.