Stowmarket running club launches vision for new facilities

Some of the Stowmarket Striders who are taking part in marathons this spring

Some of the Stowmarket Striders who are taking part in marathons this spring - Credit: Archant

The committee behind a Suffolk running club has announced a vision to provide one of the best athletics facilities in the area.

Stowmarket Striders, which has more than 300 members of all ages and abilities, currently doesn’t have its own facility.

The club uses the Mid Suffolk Sports and Leisure Centre in Stowmarket as its meeting point and the high school allows members to use their its to hold sessions.

However, with no lighting on the field, the club can only train in the summer months, and with numbers growing, the sports centre reception meeting point is becoming cramped.

The committee has decided to start pushing for its own facilities, where Striders can meet and train.

Stowmarket Striders club chairman Paul Heeks said: “When asked what Stowmarket Striders will look like in the future, I envisage a club at the heart of health and fitness within the community.

“I see a group with its own clubhouse, facilities, and a track for its members and individual coaching, whatever the age or ability.

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“Maybe social runners, enjoying new found time and freedom to be able to exercise more, or runners who want to lose weight having someone at the club helping them achieve their goals or experienced racers and athletes, striving for the next personal best drawing on the experience of the clubs coaches.

“Importantly though, I envisage us encouraging children and emerging teenagers with athletic potential to enter the racing arena.”

Depending on funds, the club would be able to provide a track with lighting to keep off the roads during winter evenings, and possibly a clubhouse for members to meet in and leave belongings while training.

Mr Heeks added: “Members would be proud to be part of Striders running club and race with us.

“They would enjoy the emotional support offered, the social events and the fact that they felt cared for.

“Even on cold, dark winter nights, members would still enjoy a safe, lit environment.

“We would also be able to host our own competitions or encourage other local groups to host events and use the facilities.”

The club is now looking to people in the town to support its aim, through sponsorship, funding, ideas or land that could be rented.

Mr Heeks said: “Stowmarket Striders is already such a friendly and inclusive club that encourages so well. Let’s make sure we can build on this strength to improve health, wellbeing and fitness for the Stowmarket area.”