BY IAN THORPE
Some of the older athletes have been training for several weeks now. But for the younger ones, the season officially begins on Tuesday for members of the Nanaimo Track and Field Club.
One of Nanaimo’s most successful sports organizations, NTFC was founded back in the 1960s and was nurtured over the years by dedicated leaders such as Elwood Wylie, Inge Hedman, Bill English and Art Vanidour. It is a non-profit club that operates year-round, training athletes from age six onwards in track and field as well as cross country. The club’s philosophy is based on the concept that track and field should be fun and that all athletes should receive equal opportunity for training and competition.
With fall and winter cross country now finished, attention turns to the spring and summer track season. Registrations have been accepted for some time, practices are scheduled and the many club volunteers and coaches are looking forward to another busy year ahead.
There will plenty of stability on the board, as all executive members are returning for another year. Tyler Heisterman is once again NTFC president, aided by vice-president Bernie Katzberg. Al Johnston is the past president, Shaula Croome is club secretary and Don Putz is the treasurer. Also on the board of directors are Cristi Lundman, Brenda Redman, Philip Vannini, Robert Shurnak and Kim Cameron.
The youngest track club members join the Track Rascals program. Designed for youngsters ages 6-8 (born 2011-13), this is a non-competitive introduction to the basic skills of track and field based on the B.C. Athletics’ Run, Jump, Throw program. Two separate five-week programs are offered between April 16 and June 20, with practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-7:30pm. Cost is $90 for five weeks or $160 for 10 weeks.
Practice sessions have already commenced for high school club members, happening Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9-10:30 a.m. at the track. Midget ages 14-15 (born 2004-05) pay $235, youth ages 16-17 (born 2002-03) pay $265, as do juniors ages 18-19 (born 2000-01) and senior ages 20-34 (born 1983-99). NTFC also welcomes older athletes to their programs. Those aged 35-plus can register in the masters’ category for $235.
Junior development athletes are those ages 9-13 (born 2006-10). This skill-based program helps youngsters develop abilities in most of the traditional track and field events. Cost is $200 for the season, with training scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6-7:30 p.m. as well as Saturday mornings 10:30 a.m.-noon, starting this coming Tuesday, April 2.
Club athletes are encouraged to take part in various meets held during the spring and summer, including the Vancouver Island Series which kicks off with the Bob Dailey Meet on April 27-28. An annual highlight of the season is the Elwood Wylie Meet, this year hosted by the Nanaimo club on May 25-26.
A major annual fundraising campaign of the NTFC is also underway. The club is selling premium organic topsoil donated by Cinnabar Valley Farms. Cost is $5 per 18-kilogram bag, with free local delivery for orders of five bags or more. April 25 is the deadline for ordering and bags will be available for pick-up on May 4 from the Track Club headquarters at 355 Wakesiah Ave.
More information on the fundraising, club programs and registration details, are available online at www.nanaimotrackandfield.com.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.