President’s Reflections September 2021

Dear Member, 
It is sometime since I have been able to give you an update on the status of the track.  I have included below a commitment statement agreed by the named parties. 
We believe our campaign has been effective in keeping a clear focus on the urgent need for a resurface, and we continue to be in ongoing dialogue with the Council, Enable and England Athletics with whom we are due to have a further meeting in the next two to three weeks, to discuss amongst other things the full capital bid . 
This coming Thursday 23rd September we have been invited to attend a Council meeting where the inclusion of the track on a Council meeting has been triggered by our petition, which in the end attracted 2300 signatures. Thank you to all who signed and publicised. We must keep working to achieve the outcome we all want, a newly resurfaced track.   
The summer witnessed a return to competition for many of our athletes.  There were some real positives, with Katie Snowden’s fantastic semi-final appearance in the 1500m at the Olympics being the outstanding highlight. But through the age groups we have seen some big personal bests including UK lead performances.  Teamwise the summer has been mixed for us as a Club, but many other clubs have also struggled to fill places in league competitions which saw a gentle re-introduction over the past few months.  
A key reason for being part of a Club is to compete in Club events on a regular basis, and this is reflected in our charter for athletes and coaches (available on our WWW site) which includes the following statement: 
Commit to representing the Club and competing in appropriate competitions for the Club (typically 6-8 per winter and/or summer seasons, dependent on event), subject to illness and injury. 
It is essential that we use this winter to re-establish the Club as one that others fear.  For our senior distance section we have identified five priority races which we would wish all of our distance athletes to contest, namely the four Surrey Cross Country Leagues and the National Cross Country Championship. 
We will of course continue to contest other events, but these are five that we would like all of our distance athletes to take part in. At this time of year a good number of our athletes are starting, or have returned, to university.  We pass on our very best wishes to you all in what we hope will be a much more normal student year.  As a Club we are keen to ensure, where it is possible, that you continue to take part in Club events, and to that end we will cover travel costs for those who are able to participate. 
My best wishes to all of our athletes and coaches for the upcoming winter of training and competition.  These can be some of the most challenging months as the nights draw in, but also some of the most rewarding and are definitely key to building a solid base for future success.   
Keith Newton,
President, Herne Hill Harriers  

Tooting Bec Track: commitment statement from Wandsworth Council, Enable, England Athletics and Herne Hill Harriers 
Club members will be aware that ​Tooting Bec Athletics Track, Herne Hill Harriers home track since the 1930s, needs to be resurfaced.  At a track inspection in June 2021 the track was assessed as to remain suitable for UK Athletics License Level 1 events until September 2021 and for training until April 2022.  This use being in accordance with the following advice:
 • All known users and any coaches should be advised by email or post that the track surface has been recently tested and found to have hardened to a degree which has reduced its ability to absorb shock. Therefore, coaches and athletes should adapt the volume and type of training accordingly and consider the footwear that they wear (i.e. consider wearing trainers/racing flats as opposed to spikes), until the track has undergone the recommended refurbishment programme.
• ’This advice should also be displayed on signage at the entrance to the track.
Further testing should be carried out by Labosport in the spring of each year to ensure that the track is not further hardening to an unsuitable extent until refurbishment is undertaken.
Whilst such permitted current use has been approved until April 2022, our commitment is to ensure we a have a fully operational facility on an ongoing basis.  
Since July 2020, the Club’s Executive has been working with Wandsworth Council, Enable (the Council’s contractor), and the governing body, England Athletics, to ensure that Tooting Bec Athletics is retained as a full track and field competition standard facility. ​
Each of these representative groups are all fully committed to making this happen.  Wandsworth Council has submitted a ​full capital bid to resurface the track.    
A formal Committee decision on this application is due in February 2022. ​(This round of the Committee is to finance projects for the financial year from April 2022 to 2023.) We wanted to assure you that everything is being done ​to ensure that funds are secured to enable the resurfacing ​works to be carried out which will lead to a full and proper athletic use of the facility.  Herne Hill Harriers, Wandsworth Council, Enable and England Athletics ​see the athletics track to be a key local asset providing opportunity, integration and wellbeing to all within the community and are thus totally committed to working together on retaining Tooting Bec as a fully functioning athletics track and field ​competition standard facility.  ​