Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club has managed to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic by being “agile,” as club president Kevin Harrison put it.
“Because of COVID, we had to be kind of flexible,” Harrison told the Langley Advance Times.
As of Saturday, Feb. 20, Harrison estimated membership numbers were almost back to pre-COVID levels, thanks to a creative approach that has seen the club introduce new off season training for junior development and high school aged athletes, and may see them holding smaller training sessions, more often, at Langley tracks other than McLeod Athletic Park (MAP), their home base.
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One way the club adapted to the new pandemic realties was by creating a new off-season, six-week-long, speed program, that filled up quickly.
“It’s good timing to be offering things in the off-season,” Harrison remarked.
“People just wanted to get moving again.”
With the Township limiting MAP to one sport at a time, Mustangs runners have been able to get their laps in, while maintaining appropriate distancing.
“It’s working well,’ Harrison said of the agreement with the Township.
“It’s a really safe environment.”
Now, with the Mustangs’ big season for track and field looming in April, the club is poised to continue its recovery from the initial COVID lockdown.
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“It definitely hurt us and we had to rebuild,” Harrison allowed.
And they have – normally, there are around 40 runners in the club’s high school program, and it is currently on track to reach 35.
“We are seeing generally, steady rising, membership,” Harrison said.
Even more encouraging, the junior development program, which usually has about 100 athletes, is looking like it could do it again.
“We feel like we could hit 80 or 90, or even 100,” Harrison projected.
“We’re getting towards normal.”
Now, the club has the enviable problem of accommodating all those athletes, under circumstances where the coach to athlete ratio has been restricted.
Possibilities under consideration could see some training sessions moved to other Langley tracks, and even holding more frequent, smaller practices, five a week instead of three.
For the Mustangs club, which already kept coach to athlete ratios on the low side for better quality instruction, it’s not as big an adjustment as some other sports.
There is also a decent chance some of the Mustangs athletes will even be able to compete.
According to the club website, BC Athletics will be allowing track meets – with restrictions that will limit the maximum number of people in the competition area to 50.
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