The new chairman of Tavistock Athletic Club has promised a bright future for runners, throwers and jumpers as its vandalised track is repaired.

Even though the track. on Tavistock College site, but run by the club (TAC), is not yet completely repaired after being set fire to a year ago, TAC continues to run a number of regular events, including its flagship Primary Schools Challenge a week ago in Tavistock Meadows, and Tavistock Town Relays during carnival week. However, the popular Tavistock half marathon is not being run this year, as the track is relain.

Mark, TAC chairman, said: “I am looking forward to soon being able to stand together with Tavistock College Principal Tristan Muller-Forster and our other partners, and some of our junior and senior athletes to reopen the track after work is completed.  

“A big part of what we are about as a club is providing people of all ages with the opportunity to also try field events, coaching and developing throwers and jumpers, not just runners.

“It’s exciting we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary, next year - a fantastic achievement.  We wouldn’t be here today without an incredible range of partnerships and a fantastic vision set out many years ago between the Club, Tavistock College and Mount Kelly) and many other organisations.   We enjoy working closely with Tavistock Lions, and also with Nick Henderson and colleagues at Mansbridge Balment who have been long-term supporters of our races and events. Our relationship with Tavistock College has continued to this day.”

Tavistock Athletic Club's new chairman Mark West
Tavistock Athletic Club's new chairman Mark West (Tindle)

The club has built up reserves to support the track refurbishment, including a £36,000 grant from West Devon Borough Council and £5,000 from the Maristow Charity trustees.

He added: “While a some track and field facilities are struggling to survive, it ‘s testament to Tavistock and West Devon Council we have such a great facility available to use in our town.    The club has a fantastic ethos, placing as much emphasis on participation and connection as we do on achievement and knocking out personal bests or finishing on a podium. The atmosphere at the recent graduation of our latest group of Couch to 5k runners was fabulous to see, with the coaches and volunteers providing so much support and encouragement.  And as I have discovered myself, you are never too late to start, we have a growing group of talented junior runners, and some very capable senior runners.”

Mark thanked predecessor Alistair Kinsey: “He did an incredible job, together with committee members and coaches and volunteers. “

He added: “There is something infectious about joining a running group.  If you are thinking about running, please come and try a few sessions, or participate in our monthly 5k race.”