Top track and field athletes started careers at Burnley Athletic Club

This Is Lancashire: Under-11s train on a Thursday evening, with the help of coaches Under-11s train on a Thursday evening, with the help of coaches

BURNLEY Athletic Club has kick-started the careers of numerous top athletes, most recently that of the current senior British record holder for hammer throw, Sophie Hitchon.

Although it is not known when the club was established, it is believed to have been going for many years, and originally featured an old cinder track.

The track was regarded by many as the quickest in the North West.

It was upgraded in 1998 to the present synthetic track through funding from Burnley Boys’ Club, Burnley United FC, Burnley Athletic Club, and Burnley Borough Council.

And an upgrade to the hammer and discus cage in 2011 has enabled the club to host national competitions.

The club takes children from the age of seven through to adults who train in track and field events, such as hammer and discus, shot put, javelin, high jump, and long jump.

Under-11s meet every Monday and Thursday, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, and take part in a range of sporting activities and games, such as rounders, to help improve their overall fitness and enjoyment of sport.

The under-13s, under-15s, under-17s, under-20s and seniors all meet on Mondays and Thursdays, from 6.30pm to 8pm, concentrating on track and field events.

Mike Linaker, membership secretary, said: “We have around 120 members in total, with around 45 under-11s, all coming from across East Lancashire.

“We like the younger members to try their hands at all of the disciplines, so they can see which they like, and those that they are better at.

“By the age of 15, or 16, most of the members tend to stick to just one, or two, of the sports.

“The under-11s are encouraged to try and take part in the odd competition throughout the year, though not as many as the older members. We also have a vets (veterans) group for members aged 35, and above.

“There is a very good atmosphere at the club. Everyone is friendly and there are a lot of parents who get involved too.”

The club is situated off Barden Lane, and the entrance to the car park is on New Hall Street.

People are asked to arrive at 6.15pm for a prompt 6.30pm start. Anyone looking to join should come along to the club.

For more information visit www.burnleyac.co.uk or call 07434 455089.

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