The race is on for 2012 as sporting great opens Maidstone athletics track
One of Britain's greatest athletes and the world's first four-minute miler, Sir Roger Bannister CBE, officially opened the new, eight-lane floodlit athletics track on Tuesday, (September 22), launching a unique new training facility for local athletes.
The £800,000 track, funded jointly by the School and Maidstone Borough Council, will provide a world-class training facility for local athletes in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics – and for many years beyond.
The track, which incorporates training facilities for long jump, high jump, javelin and shot, will benefit members of Medway and Maidstone Athletic Club, who will train here five evenings a week, as well as our pupils and the local community.
Headmaster Bruce Grindlay told assembled guests at the track, “This is a facility which will serve our school and the community, sharing and enhancing both state and independent school traditions. This facility will breathe new life and purpose into this part of the school, allowing young people to benefit from it, to learn from it and to excel on it.”
Sir Roger fired a starting pistol to officially open the track, after which Martin Brockman and Natalie Gray, from Medway and Maidstone Athletics Club, joined our students Emma Baxter and Simon Goldsworthy, in a four-man relay. They notched up a mile in 4 minutes 19 seconds, a little behind Sir Roger’s groundbreaking record which he set when he ran into the history books on May 6 1954, running the same distance in just 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.
Although the record was broken soon afterwards, Sir Roger’s achievement has gone down as one of the most memorable events in sporting history.
Sir Roger told guests how he gained his inspiration from one of Britain’s greatest-ever middle distance runners Sidney Wooderson, himself an Old Suttonian.
“He became my hero. He was modest and unassuming, but a great club runner,” said Sir Roger. “Sport is common to us all. We should love it and take a pride in it. Now, with the 2012 Olympics on the horizon, what an opportunity we have!”
Cllr Brian Moss, Maidstone Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, paid tribute to our governors and staff, without whose support the project would not have been possible.
He said: “This facility will be available for our aspiring and established athletes for years to come and could see us bring home a medal to Maidstone in 2012.
Let’s ensure these superb facilities bring superb results for the country!”
The track, floodlighting and race officials’ facilities have been built by Kent-based specialist AMB Sports from West Kingsdown and Polytan of Loughborough, whose clients include the Crystal Palace athletics stadium and the K2 Stadium, Crawley.
Among guests at the opening were the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Bill Cockroft DL, Shadow Sports and Olympics Minister and MP for Faversham and Mid Kent Hugh Robertson and the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Peter Parvin.
For further information regarding Medway and Maidstone Athletics Club, please contact:
Paul Alcock on 01622 691130
For other information regarding the track please contact:
Graham Alderman, Director of Sport on 01622 845290
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