Grangemouth Stadium: Falkirk Council 'hopeful for credible rescue package' as Eilish McColgan stresses facilities importance

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Commonwealth Games gold medallist Eilish McColgan pleads to keep closure-threated Grangemouth Stadium open as “hopeful” Falkirk Council say rescue package must be “credible.”

Commonwealth Games champion Eilish McColgan reckons that losing closure-threatened Grangemouth Stadium would be a crushing blow, saying that the facility is the “spiritual home” of track and field in Scotland.

The 33-year-old distance runner has spent a year on the sidelines with a knee injury, but is on the road to recovery ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics, and she told Scottish Athletics that something must be done to save Grangemouth.

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The training facility is one of more than 100 owned by Falkirk Council which is set to be closed or transferred into the hands of local communities due to a £62.5m funding gap over the next four years.

Eilish McColgan of Team Scotland celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 10,000m Final on day six of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 03, 2022 (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)Eilish McColgan of Team Scotland celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 10,000m Final on day six of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 03, 2022 (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Eilish McColgan of Team Scotland celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 10,000m Final on day six of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 03, 2022 (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

It is currently deemed a “Phase Three” asset by the council, which means if a solution cannot be found it will close in April 2026.

“It is really important that the facility is saved,” multiple British medallist McColgan pleaded. “We don’t have too many track and field venues in Scotland so every single one is important and particularly Grangemouth.

"It is just where young athletes get to compete in the sport we love and get to develop. I’ve raced there so many times as a kid and in my teens and have a lot of memories.

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"To put it simply: Grangemouth a fundamental venue for track and field in Scotland.

Closure-threatened Grangemouth Stadium hosts athletics events year-round, including the recent Round The Houses 10k Jim Dingwall Memorial Road Race (Photo: Michael Gillen)Closure-threatened Grangemouth Stadium hosts athletics events year-round, including the recent Round The Houses 10k Jim Dingwall Memorial Road Race (Photo: Michael Gillen)
Closure-threatened Grangemouth Stadium hosts athletics events year-round, including the recent Round The Houses 10k Jim Dingwall Memorial Road Race (Photo: Michael Gillen)

"The Scottish Schools is there, the Age Group Championships are there and their competitions and championship events are the starting point for many careers.”

Research by consultants acting for Scottish Athletics recently confirmed Grangemouth’s central Scotland location adds to the strategic importance of the facility – with no fewer than 2.9 million people living within an hour’s drive of the facility.

And McColgan added that the next generation of Scottish athletes will be the ones to suffer if a rescue package can’t be put in place in the near future.

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"It would be a lost opportunity for youngsters within that area and further afield,” added McColgan. “And as I said, across the whole of Scotland, to lose another facility, another track, would be very damaging.

"I mean, it almost happened with Meadowbank, but thankfully they’ve managed to revamp that and we have a new facility there.

“So it’s really just, I know, securing it for the next generation of youngsters coming through. They have somewhere that they can feel safe to try athletics, to compete, to race.

"It is about all of those key memories that you have as a youngster, competing across stadiums, across this country.

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"So, yes, I think for that local area around Grangemouth and local clubs it is a really important place to try and retain as many of them as we possibly can.

"But we also know people travel there to compete in championships and we’d lose that too.”

Falkirk Council said it “remains hopeful” that a “credible proposal” can be found to ensure that Grangemouth Stadium can continue to operate.

The international-standard arena – which was built in 1966 and features a 150-metre running track, hosts athletes year-round and is used by many local clubs, including Falkirk Victoria Harriers and Forth Valley Flyers.

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A spokesperson commented: “We remain hopeful that Scottish Athletics and/or other organisations will be able to come forward with a credible proposal to operate this regional sports facility for Scotland.

"Unfortunately given that Falkirk Council has a £62.5m budget gap and reduced funding levels from Government, it is not possible for our organisation to shoulder the responsibility for running the stadium alone – especially since very few of those who use it live in the Grangemouth and wider Falkirk area.”

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