London Marathon Athletics Track – Finsbury Park
In 2010, the former Finsbury Park Athletics Track was earmarked for closure by Haringey Council. Today, thanks to a £608,000 grant from The London Marathon Charitable Trust, a new high quality athletics track and outdoor facilities are inspiring local residents to get up and get active and in the process are helping to revitalise the fortunes of the Finsbury Park Sports Partnership (FPSP) which is responsible for the venue.
Donna Fraser, World Championships 400m bronze medallist and member of the Board of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, officially opened the renamed London Marathon Athletics Track – Finsbury Park in June 2018. Donna said: “Everyone involved has worked really hard to create an inspiring place and welcoming atmosphere, so it’s wonderful to see local adults and school children getting excited to give sport a go and reaping the benefits of physical activity.”
This project began in 2010 when Haringey Council threatened to close the track. At this time, local clubs rallied together to form FPSP and sign a 25-year lease with the council. Major funding from The London Marathon Charitable Trust, as well as grants from Sport England and the Mayor’s Fund for London, enabled FPSP to completely refurbish the sportsground.
After eight years of hard work by FPSP, renovation works were completed in late 2017, and now the Track sees hundreds of people each week taking part in activities for all levels of experience and skills provided by FPSP members London Heathside Athletics, alongside the London Blitz American football team, the Dynamic Sports Academy and Access to Sport. The Track also services school sports days across the London boroughs of Hackney, Haringey and Islington.
London Heathside is a friendly community athletics club that warmly welcomes runners and athletes of all standards and ages. It is run entirely by volunteers.
Chairman Jerry Odlin said: “Finsbury Park now has a running track that is not only attracting top-rate athletes but is also drawing hundreds of children and adults from all over north London.
Already, London Heathside Athletics has witnessed widespread positive impacts of the project.
“There has been a complete culture shift," Odlin said. "Our members are able to train more technically and have gone on to achieve outstanding results.
“In April our women’s team became the England and British Champions at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon and last month we hosted and won the Middlesex Young Athletes league match for the first time.
“The club is also growing as a result. We’re really establishing ourselves on the athletics circuit in London.
“Most importantly, more and more people are getting involved in an inspiring sports partnership and are feeling the physical and mental benefits of activity.”