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“We’re trying to appeal to everyone” – Cheltenham Harriers coach Andrew Kaighin on the future of the athletics team.

Seniors coach at the Cheltenham and County Harriers Athletics team Andrew Kaighin is optimistic about the season ahead.

“For me in terms of the main focus for our seniors, its building up our group and keeping up the momentum really. Because things are going in the right direction,” Kaighin said.

“It’s just a case of [gaining] more members and progressing that into national competitions really. We are up against other bigger clubs, so its punching above our weight a lot of the time.”

The Gloucestershire based team offers an array of athletics to those who choose to join, whether it be the most notable cross country events that run from September time into late February.

Cheltenham Park Run – early October 2023; Pittville Park

Kaighin has been a member of the club’s executive committee for some time now, alongside being UK athletics registered.

In addition to the work with the seniors, Kaighin has ensured that the growth of age groups from the ground up is maintained.

“My primary role is team manager of the seniors, [which includes] senior long distance and cross-country, and I’ve also managed on the track and field with the seniors as well, so that incorporates the under-17 age group and upwards to [go onto] represent the seniors,” said Kaighin.

With regards to the season so far, Kaighin believes successful development of the club has already begun, with notable efforts in the most recent events in Cirencester and Cheltenham.

“The cross-country scene has just started, and most recently we’ve had the Gloucestershire league. We had the senior event last weekend which we hosted at Pittville Park; a really big effort on the day from all the club members and we had extra help with everyone involved to put that on.” Kaighin said.

“We had 520 [compete] in the men’s race, and about 250 in the ladies race, getting clubs down from Birmingham and North Birmingham in that midlands region.

“Our ladies came 5th in their competition and it was similar for the men’s team, [placing] 6th, which is a good performance from us to start of the season, so things are going well.

“Everything keeps rolling on really, there’s always something in every point of the year for us.”

As a club with over 500 members currently, and a successful seniors side, the process of developing a younger generation into the world of athletics is at the forefront of Kaighin’s plans.

“We always want as many youngsters as possible and junior athletes to progress through the age groups, but that continuation from the junior age groups up into the seniors, a lot of other sports find difficult – with athletics, its no different,” Kaighin said.

“We’re always trying to encourage those folks to come through, and we’ve got other avenues like Park Run, where people are getting back into the sport, or are trying it for the first time, and they’re massively enjoying it when they come to us and its kicking on their training a bit more. We’re trying to appeal to everyone to be honest.”

Cheltenham Park Run – Early October 2023

Most importantly, the committee operate in line with their club goal on their website: “to ensure that the athletic careers of the club’s members will be given the support and encouragement they need to reach their potential, at their chosen events and to take pride in their achievements as both individuals and as a team.

Read more on the Cheltenham Harriers and Cross Country on their website.

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