Kamloops Track and Field Club president Armstrong talks financial pandemic pinch and winter programs

Winter is coming — and Kamloops Track and Field Club president Judy Armstrong has concerns about the future.

The club, which Armstrong said has missed out on about $100,000 in revenue since the pandemic hit in March, will move indoors in November to the Tournament Capital Centre, where maximum gathering sizes will be enforced and physical distancing will be more challenging.

“Our big worry right now is basically, ‘What is this going to look like inside?’’ and I don’t think we’re alone in our thoughts there,” Armstrong said. “People are in an enclosed environment. Right now, we’re outside and things are good. People are enjoying that, but the weather is getting a little colder.”

The track club survives on event registration fees, membership dues and its annual manure sale.

Nearly all of the spring and summer schedule was wiped out, the manure sale was cancelled and a group of about 100 Australians who were scheduled to train and pay to compete in Kamloops this past summer did not make the trip.

“For sure, it’s been very stressful,” Armstrong said. “We regularly have eight track meets from the end of April to the end of May and this past year we were supposed to run the B.C. Championships, so about 700 athletes ages 14 to 33. We lost a lot of revenue on that.”

Armstrong credited coaches and volunteers for helping the club get back on track this fall, with programs in full swing and under regulations approved by the provincial government.

For more information and to register for fall and winter programs, go online to kamtrack.ca.

The City of Kamloops is allowing no more than 180 people inside the Tournament Capital Centre fieldhouse at one time.

It has been approved for more, according to Sean Smith, business operations and events supervisor for the city, but staff are erring on the side of caution.

“We’re keeping an eye on the numbers inside the fieldhouse at any one time constantly and we’ve not yet come even close to that capacity,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, the province has limited public gatherings to no more than 50 people.

Those numbers appear to damage the KTFC’s plans to host events this winter, such as the Gary Reed Invitational, which features about 150 to 200 athletes from across the province.

But Smith suggested track and field might be in a favourable position to host indoor competitions in comparison with some other sports.

“If they scheduled it properly, they could have high jump go on in the morning, for up to 50 people, provided they leave enough time in between high jump and long jump, for example, for people to leave the facility and for the next group to arrive without crossing paths,” Smith said. “High jump and long jump are separate events. The Gary Reed Invitational of 200 people is not permitted, but track is very different than a hockey tournament or a slo-pitch tournament. They are different events with different athletes.”

Throwing down in Kamloops

This weekend, some of the top throws athletes from across the province will be in action in Kamloops.

The B.C. Throws Project Provincial Development Camp, which runs from Friday to Sunday (Sept. 25 to Sept. 27), will be bookended by a pair of competitions — the Bondarchuk Cup, which gets underway at 4 p.m. on Friday, and the development camp event, which begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Both competitions will take place in the throws pit and field across from Hillside Stadium.

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