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Royal opening of Carlisle’s new track

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The ambitious athletes of Cumbria finally have their ‘magic carpet’ to help them towards fulfilling their dreams of aiming for London 2012.

 

It comes in the shape of a £3.6 million redevelopment of the Sheepmount Stadium at Carlisle that was officially opened on Friday 29 September by Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex.

 

He chatted enthusiastically to year 6 and 7 children from Stanwix School, Carlisle, about their favourite athletics events. The pupils then took part with equal exuberance in a sprint race on the new eight-lane track, which has emerged from the floods that almost engulfed the town a couple of years ago.

 

There are also new football pitches, changing rooms, toilets, showers, officials’ accommodation, disabled access and facilities, fitness and exercise areas, clubroom and a training and education room, as well as gym equipment for winter training.

 

UK Athletics’ Director of Athlete Development Zara Hyde Peters, who attended the celebrations, explained in an interview with Radio Cumbria: “Facilities do not necessarily make the athletes but the new track will attract new athletes to the local club inspired by the 2012 dream and a track and training facility that is as good as any I have seen. The 8 lanes mean that quality competition can be hosted in Carlisle.”

 

About £1.5m of the money for the redevelopment was found by Carlisle City Council and the remainder was from Sport England and the Football Foundation.