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The upcoming year at Lancaster brings with it the anticipation surrounding the newly-established Lancaster University Athletics Club (LUAC).
LUAC President Martin Burn competed as an athlete for his local club at home and was surprised to find that there was no accommodation for track and field athletics at the University. The closest connection Lancaster has is Lancaster and Morecombe Athletics Club, which is external to the University. LUAC has been established to allow any athlete, regardless of past experience, ability or event, to compete and train alongside other students.
The club is attracting attention online already, and Burn boldly believes that “LUAC could become one of the most popular clubs on campus, and with only a year until the London Olympics, I expect a lot of members joining come October.”
LUAC plans to charge a basic membership fee of only £5, plus a very competitive and reasonably-priced England Athletics membership costing £10. However, additional training costs and competition fees remain uncertain. Training will be held at Salt Ayre Sports Complex in Lancaster, hence the extra cost, as well as on campus.
Regarding coaching, it seems that there are a handful of students who have a UK Athletics (UKA) coaching license, and the club also hopes to attract some external coaches with their affiliation to England Athletics.
The only club similar to LUAC on campus is Lancaster University Running Club (LURC), which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
LURC cater for runners from beginner level to advanced ability and compete over a variety of distances throughout the year. LURC are also looking to develop their appeal to runners also affiliated with UK Athletics, which could be seen as a potential clash with the track side of LUAC.
However, Burns said “I don’t believe we clash with LURC. I came to the University as a 400m runner and none of the societies catered for sprinters or even 1500m runners. LUAC was set up for sprinters, jumpers, throwers and the middle distance runners, none of whom had any access to training before now.”
Presidents of both clubs have conversed and there is an understanding that LUAC are not stepping on the toes of LURC. A joint membership scheme was discussed at the time, but this has not come to fruition just yet.
All the same, even though LUAC is in essence, the ‘new kid’ on campus, Burn certainly seems the dedicated President that the club needs for success. This commitment and enthusiasm looks to bring only more opportunities and sporting interest with the years to come and thus presents even more exciting opportunities for Lancaster’s students.