Athletes likely to ‘bounce back’

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Taieri runners outside the clubroom on Saturday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Taieri athletics will “bounce back” from the impacts of the lockdown, the club’s convener says.

The club could not operate during the lockdown but the harriers were back to their usual weekend runs late last month.

Club convener Rob Urquhart said this season was a “bit of an unknown”.

“The summer athletes were doing so well and got their season cut short which was a bit unfortunate,” Urquhart said.

A couple of athletes were selected in the New Zealand secondary schools team which was due to travel to Australia, Paralympian Holly Robinson was training for the Tokyo Olympics, and others missed out on local and interprovincial competitions.

But, athletes just had to do their best training at home without the club facilities.

The clubrooms were usually used “quite extensively” by summer athletes during the winter season.

“That was a disadvantage to them.

“I’m sure they all carried on their training on their own little way and we’ll see the results of that probably when the new summer season comes around.”

Financially, the club has taken a bit of a hit, particularly in the winter season, although it received a grant which has helped cover rent, insurance and electrical expenses.

It was lucky to have money saved for a “rainy day”.

During lockdown, club members kept in touch by competing in virtual 5km and 10km challenges, and at-home scavenger hunts.

Urquhart said there was a great group of runners and walkers involved in the winter season who had become “a bit like a family”.

“The winter runners are purely there for the good of their health, the friendship and the group participation.”

As things got back to normal, he was optimistic members would return for their usual club runs, and some new ones might join.

Afternoon tea after the run was always a highlight.

“I think that comes down to the group of people we’ve got too, that we all get on so well.”

While it was disappointing to see so many events get cancelled, Athletics Otago had retained a lot of the winter programme. The season would also be extended, ending in October rather than September, to make up for the lost time.

“Going forward I’m pretty confident we’ll pick up where we left off,” Urquhart said.