Appeal for week-long free public access to Galashiels track

A plea has been made for Live Borders to allow free access to Tweedbank athletics track during the World Athletics Championships, which run from September 28 to October 6.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 1:50 pm
Guy Learmonth, left, with Cllr Euan Jardine.

The request was made by Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for culture and sport, Cllr Euan Jardine, who formally raised it with Live Borders chief executive Ewan Jackson at a recent council executive meeting.

Cllr Jardine said: “The World Athletics Championships will be live on BBC every day, and in a world where most sporting events are behind a

pay TV wall.

“This is a great opportunity to engage and ignite a passion for the sport in people who may not know we have an 400m track in the Scottish Borders.

“It would be great to see people running or jumping on the track during the championships.”

Cllr Jardine garnered support from Berwickshire athlete and Great Britain 800m

internationalist Guy Learmonth, who trains on the Tweedbank Track.

“It would be incredible, as increasing participation in the sport is vital, especially for the younger generation, so to have it more accessible and free would be great,” he said.

“Just to see young people out there enjoying themselves, taking part in this fantastic sport, would be amazing. The facilities are great and I

would encourage Live Borders to open up the gates and show how good the sport is during the championships.”

Helping the local clubs grow is another reason Cllr Jardine believes it’s a good idea.

“This is an ideal opportunity for local clubs to meet with anyone wishing to join,” he added. “Traditionally, people only access the track during club nights. This can be a bit overwhelming for anyone trying out the track

for the first time.

“So to get an opportunity to go along for free and run how you feel, with no pressure, is an ideal way to become familiar with your surroundings. “Also to know the stars on TV, like Guy Learmonth and long jumper Jasmin Sawyers, have trained on the same track would make it that little bit more special.”

Live Borders’ response so far has been entirely non-committal.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “Cllr Jardine raised some great suggestions about Live Borders’ activity in relation to the opportunities arising from the World Athletic Championships taking place this year.

“We will most certainly be using the increased attention on athletics as a catalyst for our engagement with all ages and abilities, to encourage athletic development all year round in collaboration with our Sports Development team.”