Running track restored by volunteers

Running track restored by volunteers

by Tom Martin (June 2020)

A RUNNING track in Rimrose Valley Country Park has been restored after hard work from volunteers and community groups.

The athletics track, in the ‘Chaffers’ section of the large park, had been popular with locals and schoolchildren but became overgrown and unusable over the years.

Volunteers have been busy during lockdown working on the site and with the help of Jamie Carragher’s charity, the 23 Foundation, the running track has been returned to its former glory.

Also involved in the project was Rimrose Valley Friends, Rimrose Runners club and Marsh Lane Harriers running club.

The joint venture required plans and applications to be submitted and approved to Sefton Council and the decision to restore the running track is despite Highways England’s plans to build a road through the centre of the park.

Speaking on behalf of Rimrose Valley Friends, trustee Linda Gaskell believes it’s a positive step in their ongoing fight against the road plans.

She said: “The fact that the foundation has decided to support this anyway and Sefton Council has given the go ahead is a huge statement of intent and shows how we are planning for the long-term future of Rimrose Valley as a vital community asset.”

Co-leader of Rimrose Runners and fellow Rimrose Valley Friends Trustee, Sarah Edey added: “This is fantastic news not only for local running clubs like our own, but the whole community. We will obviously continue to use the rest of Rimrose Valley for our longer trail runs which take in the amazing scenery and nature it has to offer.”

John Carragher, who is the brother of Reds legend Jamie, coordinated the work as a founding member of Marsh Lane Harriers. John added: “As soon as we heard that efforts were being made to restore a sports facility the whole community can use to keep fit, we knew it was something we wanted to be involved in.”

The news has been warmly welcomed by other local running groups. Dennis Gill, a former coach of Southport Waterloo Athletics Club, who campaigned to keep the original track, is particularly pleased at the announcement. He said: “When I’ve been past the track in recent years it’s been really sad to see it deteriorate to the extent that you can no longer tell it was there, so it’s absolutely fantastic that it’s been revived in this way.

“In its heyday the track was home to hundreds of kids and other athletes, but it was also popular with the local community and there were always runners using it for their own training. It would be great to see that happening again.”

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