Manitoba city welcomes the addition of a new track for athletes, community members

A new rubberized track in the city of Morden, Man., is just what two student athletes need.

For teen athletes Jessica Kagan and Ava Earl, competitive running is something they both enjoy. A new addition to their community, in the form of an eight lane rubberized track, is key to elevating their performance.

“As a sprinter on gravel, there’s been lots of nasty slips and falls and it’s not really ideal to be sprinting on,” Earl said.

The closest track to the girls is 100 kilometres away.

“I run some of the longer-distance races, so it’ll be nice to get a good training experience,” Kagan said.

The cost for constructing the track is estimated to be around $1 million. Along with the track, work would include a soccer field. All told, the funds for the project are almost entirely funded by the community.

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School trustee Dave Guenther, with the Western School Division, said the process included receiving a grant from the province. There’s hope to receive a grant from the city, as businesses and individual across the city have come together to pitch in.

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“Morden hasn’t been able to host a track event… this opens up the opportunity for Morden to have that hosting experience,” Guenther said.

Touching on the possible benefits of such an addition to the community, city mayor Nancy Penner said the track is a good way for other members of the community to remain healthy.

“It also provides opportunities for not only our youth but our seniors. Mental and physical health is important to our community,” Penner said, noting that it could be a good way for special Olympic athletes to also train.

Three acres of land will be donated to the project by the city. Money raised will also go towards bleachers, soccer nets, and additional track equipment.

For Earl, that means the possibility of trying out new events like long jump.

The track will open this September alongside the new Discovery Trails School

— with files from Global’s Teagan Rasche

Click to play video: 'Special Olympics Manitoba athletes getting set for winter games'

Special Olympics Manitoba athletes getting set for winter games

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