Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: The track where dreams begin

The Mary Peters Track has become a home for athletics in Northern Ireland

We continue our series with Mary Peters, Olympic gold medallist in 1972 on what makes the province so very special

The track was originally owned by Queen's University and the night I won my gold medal, Malcolm Brodie, then sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph, rang me to say the people of Belfast wanted to mark my success and what would I like. I said I would like the track where I trained upgraded but did not realise I would have three years of fundraising to see it.

I just love visiting the track. Last year we held the Dwarf Olympics there and last month the Transplant Games took place there. Most days you will see young athletes training in this natural amphitheatre.

When we opened it, we asked the children in local primary schools to spell my name out around the track and I still meet people who say ‘I was the letter P'.

I have just learnt that Belfast City Council, who run the track, are upgrading it from six lanes to eight lanes, the international standard.

Going there takes me back to my training days and I visit frequently, although now I am in my seventies, I only run for the bus.

The track used to be full of potholes but I wanted the next generation to have something better. As patron of Athletics NI, I love to see our athletes making progress.

Mary Peters DBE (72) is Northern Ireland's most famous athlete who won Olympic gold in the women’s pentathlon in the 1972 Olympics.

How you can shape the Seven Wonders

So what do you, the reader, think makes Northern Ireland special?

As our series runs every day over the next month we invite readers to vote on which landmark or aspect of life here as detailed by our celebrity contributors that they most agree with.

At the conclusion of the series this will enable us to draw up a list of the Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland — the things that really make Northern Ireland great.

Your choices can be sent to Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB or alternatively send an email to featureseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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