Paddock Wood Startrack 2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you all for your enquiries and application forms for Startrack 2020. We had a discussion about it at committee recently and we came to the decision that reluctantly we will not be holding Startrack this year, certainly not yet anyway. We have not taken this decision lightly. We know there will be some disappointed young budding athletes but for safety’s sake we would not want to put anyone at risk.

The problems are manifold on numerous fronts.

Although we have opened our track for members-only training we can only train for hour-long sessions. We have to limit the numbers training there at any time due to this awful Coronavirus. We have to disinfect the gates and locks every time anyone goes into or out of the track. The same goes for any equipment we use which includes the Jump pits, which are supposed to be dug over after every athletes’ use of them, the High Jump bed which has to be sanitised after each athlete has jumped and so on. In addition, Putlands Leisure Centre is closed and therefore we have no toilet facilities or car parking. On top of all this it does not seem likely the Mascalls Academy will be open before our planned event would have taken place so there would be no indoor facility to use in the event of bad weather.

Also, many of our coaches are currently not working due to being furloughed and may well not have a job to go back to if everything begins to open up. They will need to earn money in order to live.

We have discussed the possibility of a shortened version of Startrack in the Autumn Half Term but this again will depend on the other facilities being available. This is the first time in over 30 years that we have had to cancel Startrack but we would rather put on a proper event than a mish mash one.

If there is any news of a shortened version of Startrack I will let everyone know as soon as possible.

Anyone who has filled in the form and e-mailed them to me I will keep them in my Startrack file anyway.

Thank you for your understanding, enjoy your summer and stay healthy.



Startrack Organiser

Paddock Wood STARTRACK

What is STARTRACK? Basically, it is a week of athletics for children where they can learn about most of the events involved in athletics, or try to become better athletes. Paddock Wood Athletic Club has been holding Startrack weeks for around 30 years and is the longest running scheme in the country.

Startrack is aimed at children aged ideally from 11 to 16, but we do take those aged at least 6 years upwards. 6 years is the lowest age we accept (they MUST be 6 on the day they start) and for whom we have special events using different and softer athletics equipment with the events the younger ones doing being tailored to their needs, ability and competence. Coaching is done by our own England Athletics-trained coaches, assisted by teenagers specially selected from our club members. All our staff are background checked.

During the week we try to get the children to become proficient, or better, at Sprinting up to 400metres (including Hurdles and Relays), Middle Distance (800 to 1500metres), Throwing (Javelin, Discus, Shot Put and Hammer), Jumping (Long Jump, Triple Jump and High Jump) and Race Walking. We aim to coach at least three events each day, culminating with a competition at the end of the week with each child attempting a Run/Race Walk, Jump and Throw of their choice. Each child receives a Startrack T-Shirt at the beginning of their time with us and a Goodie Bag on departure. There are trophies and medals to be won.

We are proud to have played host to over 4000 children over this time from many different backgrounds and nations. We have found some remarkable athletes in that time including one young lad who went on to become a GB Junior International Javelin thrower, many who reached the English Schools Athletics Championships and many others who have become Kent County and Kent Schools Athletics Champions.

Startrack is a very good introduction to athletics for children, even though they may get some experience of it at school. Current schools’ timetables have to contend with many different sports and there is very little time to spare on the timetable for athletics, so it usually takes place just before and just after School Sports Day leaving very little chance to spot the stars of the future. This is where an athletics club comes into its own by offering more individual and specialised coaching outside school hours with the coaches helping to hone the athletes’ skills.

Startrack is very popular and everyone gets a chance to have a go at everything we can offer – down to the giant Obstacle Relay on the final afternoon -sometimes ending up in a water fight, so be prepared! Wellies and wetsuits may be advisable for the Friday afternoon!

Here in Paddock Wood many parents are not allowed to book their Summer Holidays until the Startrack dates are known so we aim to get the Gates announced as soon as we can.

Originally, Startrack was sponsored by CICA, the children’s division of Clarkes Shoes. This continued for a number of years and Norwich Union Insurance took up the reins and they were bought by Commercial and General Insurance who retitled to Commercial and General Union Insurance to become CGU. Next came yet another Insurance company who took up the Sponsorship – Aviva – who also became major sponsors of UK Athletics Each sponsor had own branding and ideas and in 2017 Aviva pulled out. Since then Startrack has had no sponsor but has been supported by UK Athletics who oversee the scheme for admin purposes only. We live in hope that a sponsor may want to support Junior Athletics via Startrack. Who knows what the future will bring?

Let’s see if we can find another World Champion locally.

Mike Duffin

Startrack Organiser

Previous year’s results and photos

Please use the links below to view the results and photos from Paddock Wood Startrack.


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