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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Runners, Adelaide University football players in turf war over Parklands

Runners, Adelaide University football players in turf war over Parklands

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Runners, Adelaide University football players in turf war over Parklands

Matt Turner,
The Advertiser
November 21, 2016

A TURF war has erupted over a prime piece of the Parklands because runners and Adelaide University footballers want to use the space at the same time.

The battle for ground has turned ugly after the university refused to mark out a 400m running track on part of Park 10, which athletes have used to train during summer on for at least the past three decades.

Veteran athletics coach Paul Townley said he was happy to negotiate with the university but the footballers wanted the track from about 6.15pm — not long after most runners started training.

“They’re basically saying ‘we don’t want you on there’ because football’s taking priority,” Townley said.

“Where else do we go? We don’t really have any suitable grass tracks anywhere else.”

MacKinnon Parade athletics coach Michael Buckler said running was a “summer institution” at Park 10.

Dylan Stenson, an 800m hopeful for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, said Park 10 was an ideal spot to train because of its central location, history and the quality of the grass surface.

“That track has been in the running community for a long time,” Stenson said.

“By removing that grass track, you’re essentially losing that option of having your short training track available next to a longer track (the university loop) ... and dispersing the running community far and wide.

“With the Commonwealth Games coming up, it’s an exciting time for our sport and a lot of people in our state are pushing for spots, but it’s a bit hard when you feel like you’re not welcome at your own track.”

Saints running coach Judy Daly said her charges were dodging footballs at Park 10 last summer.

“I’ve got runners at full speed who are going to national championships and some to international events, but there was no respect from the footballers at all,” Daly said.

Park 10 forms part of the university’s playing fields off MacKinnon Parade, comprising open spaces used for football, soccer, cricket and archery, which are bordered by the popular Uni Loop running track.

The section of turf the runners use is in the northeast corner of the precinct.

Blacks sports general manager Mike Daws said the share arrangement was working until some running groups last summer demanded sole access of Park 10 until 7pm.

He said the university tried to cater for outside groups using its grounds in the parklands but its first priority was its nine football, nine cricket and about 40 soccer teams.

“Our arrangement with the various athletics clubs has always been a year-by-year situation, depending on the use of the fields,” Daws said.

Daws said the university has leased Park 10 — also a pre-season training venue for SANFL and AFL clubs — since at least the early 1990s.

Adelaide University footballers have been unable to train regularly at the university’s main oval, off Sir Edwin Smith Drive, over the past two summers because the Blacks’ cricket club has used it most nights to cater for its growing number of teams Blacks chairman Sam Bridgwood sympathised with the running groups and said the club was willing to begin trainings later.

“But we weren’t going to start at 7pm,” Bridgwood said.

“We’re expanding and we need the grounds most nights of the week.”

Last edited by youngy on Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total

"Let's Go While We're Young"


This is very disappointing for the McKinnon Parade stable that has been based at this venue since the 1990's. Michael Buckler and his group provide most of the middle distance runners in the SAAL so if they were forced to leave, who knows what will happen to "McKinnon Parade."

I believe Michael is looking at a potential new venue but it's hard to believe they will be 'McKinnon Parade' in name only.

Likewise with Team Townley - probably the most prominent 'mature-aged' pro running squad in the country. Paul Townley cleverly found a niche in our sport, concentrating on veterans' events and basically has dominated the SAAL veterans' races for the last decade.

McKinnon Parade & Team Townley are integral to the SA Athletic League so hopefully an arrangement can be negotiated that allows these two squads to stay at McKinnon Parade (Park 10).

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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