On Wednesday 26th April, Bury hosted an open meeting as part of the event to formally open the upgraded track and field facilities at the Market Street site. The event, organised by Byron Edwards, got underway with a stirring performance from the Bury Fire Choir and Encore Youth choir. The musical director, Katie Geelan, lead the choir through four songs, including ‘We are the champions’.  Mark Granby, the club chair, gave thanks to the key people and organisations that had made the project happen. This included the key financial sponsor Bury Council, and two of the main grant providers Veolia and Suez. Mark  outlined the club’s special thanks to Neil Long, Bury Council’s Assistant Director of Operations, Jackie Veal, Bury’s Head of Wellness and Carly Heselwood, formerly part of Neil’s team who had contributed so much to making the project happen. Thanks were also given to Ed Hunt, the UKA facilities manager and club members Roger Morley and John Conroy. The cost of the upgrade of the facilities on the site is in the region of £500,000.

Chief Executive Officer of UK Athletics, Jack Buckner, and the Lady Mayor Councillor Shaheena Haroon cut the ribbon to officially open the facility, in the presence of Bury Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Tamoor Tariq and Bury AC President Jean Simpson MBE. Also present were other representatives from the council, England Athletics and the club. It was also good to see the chairs from neighbouring clubs Radcliffe, Donna Cartwright, and Prestwich, Louise Warwick, in attendance.

Once the facility had been formally opened the athletic competitions commenced and these included a total of seven mile races, a hammer event and high and long jump competitions. Trophies were awarded to the fastest male and female athletes in the mile races and the best male and female graded performance in each field event. The best male performance in the mile came from 14 year old Salford Harrier Evan Grime who won the A race in 4.28.7. The time ranks him as ninth in the UK all-time list in the under 15 age group. Fastest woman was Alex Mundell from Thames Valley Harriers who recorded 5.01.7. The womans’ high jump and long jump competitions had best performances from Clara Edwards from Altrincham. The 12 year old produced jumps of 1.30 and 4.04 in the respective competitions. Fourteen year old Alfie Dodds from Bolton was the top performer in the male long jump competition with 4.95 and Ryan McCarthy from East Cheshire produced high jump best performance with 1.25.  Dodds was also the best male hammer thrower Dodds with 37.46 and Liverpool Pembroke’s Marbel Casey produced the best women’s throw of 37.61.

In the mile races there were a large number of personal best performances from Bury athletes. Afroditi Kalambouka won the G race in 7.20.4. Twelve year old Ella Straffon-Finch took fifth in the F race with 6.52.2 just ahead of Susan Wheeldon-Gorst who ran 6.57.5, a season’s best. In the E race Giles Bennet was second in 5.32.9 (SB) ahead of third placed Katie Geelan in a PB of 5.54.4. 12 year old Lucy Dent was sixth with 6.12.6 and Irfan Qureshi was eighth in 6.20.3, both personal bests. In the D race under 11 Ethan Statham took a superb fourth in a PB of 5.43.3 with Harriet Griffiths and 12 year old Agatha Wragg in eighth and ninth respectively with PBs of 6.07.7 and 6.15.3. Paul Marshall set a PB of 5.17.8 to take third in the C race with Curtis Simpson fifth in a seasons best of 5.24.9. Patrick Babb set a new PB of 5.00.6 to take third in the B race. Luke Harreld took fourth in the A race with 4.39.9. Eighth, ninth and tenth went to Conor Wilkinson, Matthew Collister and under 17 Ben Green with times of 4.50.5, 4.45.2 and 5.10.4. In the field events under 15 Oliver Cooper achieved 1.40 in the high jump, a height matched by under 17 Jemima Miles (a PB). Miles also leapt 4.22 in the long jump with Nicole Palmer producing 4.09 and under 13 Henry Cooper leaping 3.61 (PB). Samuel Gooddy threw an excellent 33.63 in the hammer with Lucy Hill throwing a new best of 27.05.