Junior athletes build own training course at Claggan Park

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In what looks to have been a first for Scottish athletics, a mini ‘pop up’ cross country course was built by junior athletes from Lochaber Athletics Club at Fort William’s Claggan Park.

The Lochaber junior athletes normally train on the pavements
under street lights over winter. But, cross country races are mainly over long grass so getting the feel for the surface is difficult.

so, to practice running over long grass and obstacles, the Lochaber junior
athletes built their own pop up mini cross country course at Claggan Park.

The youngsters were then able to set this up with the help of the floodlighting provided courtesy of Fort William FC manager Russell MacMorran and the club.

The young athletes, aged between nine and 14 years, were asked to choose
obstacles and cones from a training store and to build a cross country course filled with obstacles and using long grass sections at the perimeter of the grounds.

Hurdles were set out in parts of the park and cones were also set out as a winding running slalom section. The long jump pit was dug over and used as a soft section and then athletes ran through long grass on the right and left hand sides on the outer edges of Claggan Park.

The youngsters trained in three pursuit runs over the course under the floodlights. Two of the older athletes, high school pupils Jamie McConnell and Finlay Dempster, also tested out the course after their own interval training session and felt it gave a real endurance run.

A team of eight athletes from Lochaber will be competing at the North District cross country championships this coming Saturday on the shores of Loch Ness.