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New community running track is ready, set, go!

Hundreds of schoolchildren and runners of all ages will benefit from a new community running track, thanks to £71,000 of Section 106 funding.

Herne Junior School in Petersfield is building an all-weather one-mile running track that will be used by its 470 pupils, other schoolchildren and the wider community.

Despite having an ample-sized field, the school’s all-weather outside facilities have historically been limited during the winter months because the field is often waterlogged and muddy.

The new community running track will make exercise accessible to all, throughout the year.

The facility, set to be completed later this year, has been possible thanks to Section 106 funding attached to the Barratt David Wilson development on land south east of The Causeway.

Petersfield Infant School, with 360 pupils, will also be given access to the track, as well as other local, smaller schools and local running groups.

Tony Markham, Headteacher at Herne Junior School, said: “We’re passionate about sport at our school but some children don’t get involved because they don’t like the cut and thrust of team sports.  An all-weather running track allows children from every part of our school and local community to run or walk a set course, enabling them to raise their heart rates, challenge themselves and each other.  Fun and fitness at the same time?  Surely this has to be a great thing for our youngsters!

“This track will make a massive difference to the health and wellbeing of future generations of Petersfield residents.”

Tim Slaney, Director of Planning at the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “Section 106 funding has the power to bring real benefits to local communities and I’m delighted that the Authority can help make a difference to Herne Junior School.

“It’s fantastic that well over 800 children, as well as the wider community, will be able to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of this new running track.”

Picture by Rich Howorth