Track and field club heads to the start line

The Nanaimo Track and Field Club's season is about to start, with registration happening next week.

Nanaimo Track and Field Club members will be looking to light up the track this year – in more ways than one.

Another track season is about to start, with registration happening next week, fundraising already underway and a major donation towards putting lights at Rotary Bowl received.

Heading up the club again this season will be president Tyler Heisterman, assisted by vice-president Bernie Katzberg, past-president Al Johnston, secretary Sue DeShiffart and treasurer Danni Watson. Sherri Clare, Tracy Higgins Jackie Pallard, Terri Doughty, Tracy Mousseau and Jodi Maxwell are other directors.

The local club has enjoyed huge success in recent years, thanks to a dedicated team of volunteer coaches and organizers and a large group of gifted athletes. Many athletes have been training throughout the winter, eager for the spring/summer season to begin.

Returning athletes have already signed up for the new season and official training sessions start next week. At the same time, new members are of course invited to sign up and registrations will be taken during the training sessions at Rotary Bowl track from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (April 1) and Thursday.

Athletes as young as six years old can get involved in track and field, thanks to the club’s fun, non-competitive Track Rascals program for those aged 6-8. Competitive programs begin with the junior development division, comprised of youth aged 9-13. Then come other competitive divisions for midget ages 14-15, youths aged 16-17, juniors18-19, seniors 20-34, post-secondary athletes 18-22 and masters 35 and over. Details regarding costs and practice times for the various age groups, as well as registration forms and other club information, are available at

Club athletes will have the opportunity to take part in a number of track and field meets during May through August. The first meet in the Island Series will be the Bob Dailey Memorial, hosted by Port Alberni on May 3-4. Among other events, Nanaimo will host its annual Elwood Wylie Memorial Meet on May 24-25, as well as competition during the B.C. Summer Games to be held here on July 17-20.

To help offset costs, the club is fundraising by selling 18-kilogram (40-pound) bags of premium topsoil for $5 each, with free delivery in greater Nanaimo for orders of five bags or more. The ordering deadline is April 18, with the topsoil available for pickup from Rotary Bowl on April 26-27. An online order form is available on the club website.

While track club athletes will be hoping to light up the track with excellent performances this coming season, the club is also preparing to light things up in a very literal sense. Underway now is an exciting Light Up the Track campaign with the goal of bringing lights to the Rotary Bowl facility. The success of the project will not only provide athletes an opportunity to extend winter training, but it will also provide greater safety on the track for the many community members who use it as well. A great start to the campaign has been made, thanks to a generous donation pledge of $10,000 from the Nanaimo Rotary Club.

It promises to be a busy and exciting season of track and field ahead.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.