Why Coast athletes deserve better than 'shocking' track
STIX McGavin fears for his athletes' health as they run along the hard-as-concrete Dundowran track he trains them on.
The athletics coach worries his young charges will pull up with shin splints or serious joint injuries as a result of the field, which he says "hasn't been aerated in decades".
"Out at Dundowran, the facilities are shocking. I have to carefully monitor my training load," Mr McGavin said.
"The ground is that hard and compact, it's like concrete."
He said when he was training on the same track for the Invictus Games, he was "getting cortisone injections constantly" to deal with the impact on his limbs.
Given his personal experience, and the importance of running as a sport to all children on the Fraser Coast, Mr McGavin has been pushing for a professional-grade athletics track to be built at the Fraser Coast Sports and Recreation Precinct.
"I've been in talks with the council for 18 months," he said.
"In a perfect world it would be a tartan track out at Nikenbah but I would settle for grass out at the precinct.
"The last conversation was it was going to go ahead but the capacity is still up in the air."
Deputy mayor Darren Everard said there were plans to add an athletics track to the sports precinct but details were yet to be confirmed.
"In the near future, I hope, we'll go back out to community consultation and line up everyone's dreams and wishes," he said.
"Athletics will be part of that."
Cr Everard said at the moment, athletes had to travel to Bundaberg or the Sunshine Coast to run on a tartan track.
He said a top quality track would not only benefit school sport and local athletes but could help the region attract top athletes.
"Down the track we'd like to attract footy clubs for pre-season camps and we need those facilities," Cr Everard said.
"We want to sell the Fraser Coast as a training base."