WE'RE ON TRACK AND HAVE COVERED 284.5KM AFTER ONE WEEK
Hi, my name is Liam Gutcher. I've been coaching, coordinating and supporting our county junior squash program alongside other great coaches, parents and committee members for over five years.
A whole season has nearly passed without regular squash which will have had lasting impacts on players, clubs and governing bodies. We are however tentatively returning to the sport we love, hoping for an uninterrupted 2021/22 season.
Our junior program has been hugely successful over the past years considering the size and location of our county. In the Junior Inter County Championships we've nearly always entered teams at every age/gender group which is testament to the hard work done by local coaches at a grass roots level. In the 2019/20 season four of our teams made it to the final stage and in 2018/19 two of our teams finished as runners-up.
The pride of representing the county is something that has been passed down through generations and most of our juniors consider these team competitions to be their favourite squash experience. Despite this we've seen junior numbers drop across the county and last season was the first time we were unable to field a team at an age/gender group for a long time. This, coupled with the impact of a year away from squash through the covid-19 epidemic has meant a difficult time ahead..
So the challenge is for all of Northumbria's junior players to run/cycle 1000km (cumulatively) in less than a month and raise as much money as possible. My aim for the project is two fold:
- To raise money to help reinvigorate the junior squash program. The funding would be used to improve coaching sessions, support grass roots development, run better events, and offer additional support to players and parents
- To re-engage with our junior players, help them re-connect with their teammates and re-establish a 'county team' feel through what is potentially a very difficult challenge! Hopefully we might have some fitter squash players on our hands by the end of it as well..