‘Phenomenal’ support for newly formed North Norfolk Harriers Athletics Club
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk Norfolk Harriers chairman Paul O'Malley says the support for the region's first athletics club devoted to children has been 'absolutely phenomenal'.
The Harriers, who base their Wednesday evening coaching sessions at Sheringham High School, have enjoyed regular attendances of over 70 children, each receiving qualified coaching from Tim and Pauline Ash, Chicago Marathon winner Paul Evans and a team of dedicated volunteer coaches from local senior running club North Norfolk Beach Runners.
Since its launch in September, the Harriers' membership book has been filling-up fast, with organisers busily recruiting more qualified coaches to meet demand.
'There are lots of individuals who are giving up their time to ensure the club provides an opportunity for local kids,' continued O'Malley. 'One thing's for sure, North Norfolk most definitely needed an athletics club – 70-plus children every week is testament to that. In fact, we are very near to capacity and may have to introduce a waiting list.'
The Harriers are looking forward to the club's prospects at the County Cross-Country Championships at Colney Lane, Norwich, in December.
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'We're really excited by the County Championships,' O'Malley added. 'We have some genuine running talent on board, and I think we might surprise a few of the more established clubs. It's a team competition, and the more Harriers that enter, the better the chance we have. It's not all about winning though – just to see the children competing, and in their new club vests, will be brilliant, and the culmination of a great deal of hard work and dedication from everyone.'
The club has also presented its first Harrier of the Month award. Jordan Emerson, 14, scooped the prize for showing 'grit, determination and a great attitude', something head coach Ash is at pains to promote.
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'It isn't about who's the fittest or the fastest,' he said, 'We're here to provide an opportunity for everyone, regardless of ability. All we ask is that they give 100pc. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing a youngster respond to encouragement and putting all their effort in – and Jordan does just that every week.'