MEMBERS at an East Renfrewshire athletics club have told how getting back on track after lockdown restrictions were eased has boosted their mental health.

Athletes of all ages are able to train together again now the Scottish Government has relaxed the rules on some outdoor sports.

There are still a number of restrictions in force, such as social distancing and a maximum of 15 people in each group, although those aged between 12 and 17 can form ‘training bubbles.’

Among those who have jumped at the chance to embrace sport again are members at Giffnock North Athletics Club, who are delighted the race to beat the Covid-19 pandemic has made real progress now the vaccine rollout is well underway.

Croy Thomson, who coaches junior members, told Barrhead Sport: “We’ve all realised the social side of athletics is very important – getting together and seeing their pals.

“The day when we can actually not worry about staying two metres apart and having to run in little groups will be very well received.”

Although the pandemic has meant many sports being temporarily booted into touch, people of all ages have found comfort by going running.

For members of Giffnock North, the focus has been on keeping their fitness ticking over while waiting for lockdown to be eased.

Thomson said: “For some of them, I think it has really helped because there has been no pressure. They’ve been able to just train and not worry about injuries.

“The juniors have been so disciplined. It’s really commendable.”

During lockdown, Scottish Athletics has organised online events to keep runners active, with competitors encouraged to post times over set distances that are then displayed on a virtual leaderboard.

However, Thomson admits there is nothing like the thrill of taking your place at the start line.

“What they’re all looking forward to is the day when they can line up on the start line and go for it,” he said.

“The public have received us very well and one passer-by said watching the kids run was just joyous.”

Thomson has also hailed those behind the scenes at Giffnock North for making sure Covid guidelines have been followed throughout the pandemic.

He said: “I think we’ve done quite well by the kids and full praise goes to the coaching crew and the club committee.”