Hundreds of local athletes have protested against the state of the running track at Narrabeen.
Local Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, addressed a public rally of several hundred athletes and parents at the Narrabeen Athletics track on Saturday calling for its urgent upgrade.
On Saturday, Falinski met with key community and athletics leaders Vicky Busse (President of Manly Little Athletics Centre), Robert McEntyre (President of the Sydney Pacific Athletics Club), Duncan Tweed (CEO of Athletics NSW), Peter Crombie (a Masters world champion athlete), and others, at the Narrabeen athletics track to discuss the necessity of an urgent upgrade to the dilapidated facility.
“The Northern Beaches deserves state of the art facilities. The Little Athletics organisers halted competition just after 9am, so that I could share with our athletes about our fight to upgrade the track” Falinski said.
“In October, many residents reached out to me regarding the perilous state of the synthetic athletics track at Narrabeen. The athletics track is in such a state of disrepair that it’s putting our athletes at risk of serious injury. I launched an online petition calling for the upgrade of the athletics track – www.fairshare4thebeaches.org.au. So far, the online petition has received nearly 1,000 signatures in a really short space of time.” Falinski said.
“I cannot believe for a moment that the track is fit for purpose. The wear and tear and pot holes in the track are so deep that children are falling in, never to be found again. I suspect that every missing pet around Narrabeen has fallen in one of the chasms on the athletics track” said Falinski.
“This track must be fixed now and I will be writing to the NSW Minister for Sport calling for a meeting about this issue and immediate action. We cannot let our athletes be at risk of injury any longer. Our community gives so much and asks for so little. The people of the Northern Beaches deserve their fair share of Government funds” said Falinski.
If any members of the community have a local issue you need help fighting for, please contact my office on (02) 8484 0300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes from key stakeholders
Peter Crombie who trains at the Narrabeen athletics track 3 times a week with his training squad of some 18 members said “the lower leg injury rate of my group is at 75%. I have athletes in my group aged 14 to 70’s. You might expect the lower leg injury rate for that age group to be around 30 to 35%, however, the track is in such poor condition it’s like running on concrete in many parts.
We do everything possible to minimise the impact, such as warming up and down on the grass infield, wearing running flats rather than racing spikes and running in the outside lanes, however as the track is likely 3 years overdue for replacement it is of limited value.
Not only is the track like concrete, it is now very dangerous with surface pieces lifting quite badly as the water seeps under the current surface causing it to lift in more and more places.” Crombie recently returned from the Perth 2016 – World Masters Athletics Championships with five gold medals.
“There are currently ten facilities with synthetic athletics tracks in New South Wales. In 2016 and 2017 the only track which will not host an Athletics NSW competition is Narrabeen because we do not consider that the surface is of a sufficient standard. The condition of the track is also negatively impacting participation levels, meaning that less people on the Northern Beaches (and indeed the whole of northern Sydney) are enjoying the fun and healthy lifestyle which athletics can provide” said Duncan Tweed.
“We pay entry and usage fees to use the Narrabeen track each year, yet do not receive the Government maintenance of the facility we would expect. I genuinely fear for the safety of our little athletes who run on this track week in, week out.” said Vicky Busse.
“I attend Little Athletics with my kids … the track is now becoming dangerous. It caused an injury to one of the kids training there in November as the guard rail is coming loose on many parts of the track and has to regularly be kicked back into place. The boy training rolled his ankle over part of the guard rail which was in Lane 1 and had to be helped off the track and back to his car at the end of the training session.” said Robyn O’Reilly, a mother of some little athletes.