Maurice Doogan’s Torun recce report. A must read for those thinking of attending the European Masters Indoor Championships in Torun, POLAND, 23-28 March 2015 …
Written by Maurice Doogan on 14/01/2015
Firstly let me begin with the facility, as being a first class Arena and a benchmark for other Indoor facilities to follow, the steeply banked seating that surrounds the full perimeter of the track will ensure an ‘electric’ atmosphere. This should enhance athlete’s performances on the track and for the field events within the Arena.
The warm up areas are also excellent, as there is a 100m six lane warm up straight and an adjacent Sports Hall right across the corridor from the numerous changing rooms, which have an abundance of lockers. There is also an eight lane outdoor track for those who require a longer warm up area, within a few hundred metres.
This Outdoor Stadium also hosts the Winter Throws, where the cages etc. are modern and also undergoing further extensive extensions. There are also further impressive changing rooms here.
The Walks course starts and finishes at this Stadium, going out to a closed section of the major road, immediately outside of the Arena, which should ensure that a substantial crowd will watch the races. The course is flat and with smooth tarmac.
The Cross Country will be held on sandy tracks within fir tree woods adjacent to the other end of the Arena to the Outdoor Stadium. Part of the course is within 100m of the Arena, with the Start and Finish lines very adjacent.
One of the apparent two tram lines in Torun has a stop a few hundred metres from the Arena, and the LOC are allegedly providing additional buses from the Town Centre to the Arena.
There is an extensive restaurant at the Arena that should be able to cater for most athletes requirements between and after competitions, as there appears to be very few alternatives in the neighbourhood. There appear to be catering facilities at the Outdoor Stadium which could be pressed into use, if necessary.
The town itself, which is a university town with most businesses aligned to that, as there appears to be very little evidence of manufacturing processes, has a preserved and well renovated, walled centre, with mainly cobbled streets. There is a multitude of restaurants and bars here, serving traditional Polish dishes as well as a range of International foods, together with an extensive range of beers, which prevented me from sampling the wine. Being a university town there is also a youthful and very social atmosphere about the place.
There appear to be plenty of hotels here, as it is also a tourist destination, and they appear to be very reasonable, but then, we are going ‘out of season’.
The only drawback appears to be that the nearest airport, Bydgoszcz is 40 miles away, whilst the larger airports of Gdansk and Warsaw are 100/200 miles away. Although there are rail links from these cities, I understand the trains are rather antiquated and slow. The preferred choice therefore would appear to be the Luxury Coaches that ply the new motorway system. The LOC have coaches that operate from the airports, but because of that, they are not cheap. A much cheaper option is the PolskiBus.com network, although you do have a trek from the Airport to the City’s Coach Station.
When there at the beginning of December, I hired a car from Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport, which was very good value, but the time taken up with queuing for the car and the paperwork would have got me partly across Warsaw to the Coach Station and the PolskiBus’s I saw on the motorways were very modern.
I have been invited out there at the end of February, whilst their National Veterans Championships are on, and have booked on Polskibus, Warsaw to Torun, for less than £7.00 return.
There is a train from Warsaw Chopin Airport in to the centre of Warsaw, which runs every 20 minutes, and then the Metro up to the Coach Station at Mlociny, which I will report on to all entrants, at the beginning of March, or catch up with me at the Indoors. I will also endeavour to find out about connections from other airports, but most Airport websites have details of how you access their city centres and connections to ongoing cities, although it normally takes some delving through the website.
So to sum up. This is definitely an Arena you would want to compete in, and even though being on the edge of the town, is still only a 20 minute walk at the most from the Old Town, and has all competitions within 400m of each other. Gent had that but was way out of town with inadequate transport to/from Arena and on-site catering. Other Arena’s and provisions for athletes are less memorable, some best forgotten, although Linz’s Arena was at the time a revelation.
Torun will definitely be a fantastic venue to ‘fly the flag’ with the new British Masters International Kit, but please be reminded the CLOSING DATE IS SUNDAY 18TH JANUARY.