Dacorum & Tring Athletic Club is holding an open evening next week to introduce new and experienced runners to the local running scene and to bring the sport to a wider audience.
Dacorum & Tring is the oldest athletics and road running club in the borough, and is opening its doors to the community on Tuesday, January 15 from 6.30pm to 8pm for an evening of training on the Sportspace athletics track at Jarman Park in Hemel Hempstead.
The event is open to all interested runners, aged 10 and over, from beginners to experienced competitors.
“We know there is a lot of interest and untapped talent out there,” said John Jales, manager of the club’s road running section.
“Whether it’s people just looking to get fit, train for a specific event or compete at a high level.
“We want to let the community know that Dacorum & Tring AC is open to everyone, and that by running with a club, you’re more likely to achieve your fitness goals, keep up with your training plans and ultimately, get faster!”
The road runners section is open to people of all levels, with formal training sessions starting at 7pm two evenings a week and group runs in Ashridge at the weekends.
Tuesday evening sessions are on the track itself, while Thursdays are on the road, and, from April to September, on the footpaths and lanes near the Jarman Park clubhouse.
“The beauty of the track is that runners of all abilities can train together at the same time,” said Jales, a qualified Level 3 coach, marathoner and former national level cross country runner.
The experienced coach puts together tailored training schedules for club members based on their targets – whether it be getting in shape to run a 5km parkrun or looking to run a marathon.
The road running sessions also accommodate different levels, with at least two groups of varying speeds leaving from the clubhouse every Thursday for runs ranging from 30 minutes to an hour.
And parents can run with the road running group while their children train at the track.
Dacorum & Tring AC has seen an influx of young members in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, particularly in the 10 to 13 age group.
Under the tutelage of expert coaches, youngsters can try their hand at all athletics events – from sprints, hurdles and middle-distance running to jumping and throwing events.
Club athletes compete regularly in local and regional leagues and county championships, and over the years the club has seen a number of athletes compete for England.
Jales is keen to capitalise on the heightened interest in athletics and road running after the Olympics to bring the sport to more people in the borough, but is also aware that the club needs to take a leading role in keeping the Olympic legacy alive in the face of spending cuts for sport and the sidelining of sports programmes in schools and communities.