Runners lament loss of University running track

Birmingham University’s running track, used by runners throughout our area, is due to close permanently on March 3rd.
brum uni track

The track will close on March 3rd when work will start on the new University library which will occupy part of the site. Permission was granted for a new track to be built on the site of the existing Munrow Sports Centre but any replacement is expected to be at least three years away and may be built away from the campus on Metchley Lane near Harborne.

Bournville Harriers, which is based at Rowheath Pavilion, have used the University track during the summer months for training sessions. Birmingham Running and Triathlon club also use the track and hold regular sessions there with its junior members throughout the week.

The track itself was relaid in 2012 ahead of its use by the Jamaican 2012 Olympic team.

London 2012 Paralympian Dean Miller, who is based in Birmingham and trains regularly at the track said he will now move to Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr and that although his training will be affected he has had time to prepare.

Dean said: “ultimately I’m right behind whatever is best for the Uni in the long run, even if it’s not ideal for my training.” He continued: “three years is long, all the indications I’ve had is that it will be sooner. Who knows?”

The University’s own very successful Athletics team will make use of Hadley stadium in Sandwell and Alexander stadium.

The University have responded with a statement about the track:

Running track – University of Birmingham statement

The University of Birmingham is embarking upon a £175 million programme of campus developments over the next five years to benefit staff, students and the local community. These developments include a planned £60m of capital investment in sport, which will result in a new state-of-the-art sports centre with a 50metre pool, and a new running track and a state-of-the-art library.

In order for work on these developments to begin, regrettably, it will be necessary to close the current running track from March 3 2014.

The current planning approval includes permission for the construction of a new running track on the Munrow Sports Centre site once the site is vacated. In order to minimise the period for which a track is unavailable, we are actively liaising with Sport England to agree an alternative location on one of our campus playing field sites. A track there will require planning approval before it can proceed and would be dependent on replacing the grass pitches lost from the relocation of the track.

The University recognises the urgency in ensuring the new track is available and is working with Sport England to enable this to happen as soon as is practicably possible.

Registered users of the track have been kept informed throughout the process over the last two to three years and also advised of alternative facilities which they can use until the new track here is complete. We will continue to update our users as the project progresses.”

(track pic via El Bingle, Flickr)