Harriers are hoping runners will check back in
Tipton Harriers may suffer a significant drop in membership figures having been stopped in their tracks by the coronavirus.
The athletics club have been forced to close their doors amid the outbreak of the virus and there is now concerns over losing a significant proportion of its 250 members.
Marge Cherrington, social secretary of the Harriers, believes the club could see interest in running wane due to the suspension of events and training.
“Our main worry is to get the athletes to come back to the club when some sort of normality returns,” she said.
“Especially the younger ones, they may turn round and say to their parents they no longer want to come down, that they may have decided to do something else.
“Our athletes can continue to train but not in groups. It’s going to be hard, the challenge will be getting those athletes back competing again.”
Mrs Cherrington believes the suspension of club activities is a blow to the whole community and she feels for those individuals to whom running offers a new lease of life.
“We want everybody to come and join us,” she said “We want people to feel a part of Tipton Harriers.
“It’s a real shame because we work with underprivileged children and those with special needs. They love to come and train with us.
“We like to look after the whole community, it’s not only about elite runners. It’s so nice to be able to encourage everyone to train.”
On a brighter note, the track closure may see a decline in personnel but at least the club will not be forced to shell money out to rent the training facility.
“It’s a tough one to take financially,” said Mrs Cherrington. “As the start of our financial year is due to begin next month.
“We won’t be getting annual subscriptions and we rely on our athletes to pay their subs on time to keep the club going.
“But our main outgoing is to pay the centre for the use of the facility. A good thing at the moment is that we don’t have to do that, otherwise we would have to fold.”
It’s a troubling time for the Harriers who have had to cancel several meetings, including the Tipton Games in April but Mrs Cherrington knows the situation is out of the club’s hands.
“We know our first two senior meetings, in May and June have been cancelled, and our first young athletes event has been cancelled,” she said.
“Maybe we can extend the season but who knows. It’s just a case of going with the flow, that’s all we can do.
“For now we can just take on the advice of England Athletics and nothing is coming out now until the end of April.