Meet the Warriors taking athletics into local communities on the Wirral 

Warriors Pentathlon and Athletics Club athletes and coach

Warriors Pentathlon and Athletics Club, one of the first recipients of the Personal Best Foundation’s small grants fund worth £2000 has gone from strength to strength as a result of receiving the award. 

The funding is used to help more young people benefit from the transformational impact of athletics, precisely the goal of the Wirral-based club, which was created by Ronan and Sarah Kearney. It is the area’s first ever Pentathlon Club and offers a welcoming home for any young person who would like to try a wide variety of endurance-based sports. 

On the Wirral there are currently around 41,000 school age children aged between 8 and 18 years. Before the Warriors club was created there was only one athletics club on the peninsula based exclusively at the track with just 200 junior members. 

Ronan explained their motivation for setting up the club: 

“Where we live on the Wirral contains some of the most deprived areas in the country, some postcodes rank in the lowest deciles nationally for health inequalities and outcomes. Transport is an issue for many families, who don’t have access to transport, and there is a refugee community that is trying to integrate. We passionately believe that thousands of young people would love to participate but historically have been unable to do so because of the impossibility of accessing transport.” 

Warriors are all about opening the door to athletics for as many youngsters as possible.  

“We have grown rapidly to 170 members in twelve months, over 60% come from the lowest four deciles in the UK for health inequalities, and 55% are female athletes,” he continues. At last year’s County Track & Field Championships we had 18 competitors – this year we will have 52, making us the 3rd biggest club on Merseyside.  And our aspiration is to continue this growth, with a target of reaching 350 members in 2024 offering daily sessions in the most deprived postcodes supported by a coaching team of 20 members of the community working together to offer an exciting sporting pathway that has the ability to transform young people’s lives and prospects,” says Ronan. 

Ronan Kearney, Club Secretary at Warriors said: We are very proud to receive this support from the Personal Best Foundation. When the Foundation was launched, it was like reading about our own mission as a Club. We believe that running and athletics is at the core of every sport, and we are focused on delivering in the community. This funding will allow us to grow our unique XC series in the community, and to increase our coaching numbers to expand our after-school delivery.

The club provides not only a superbly structured training and coaching programme for beginners to follow, it’s the emphasis on developing their own careers and lives beyond athletics that really makes the Warriors stand out from the pack. 

For Sarah and Ronan, sport is all about developing your life as a whole. The pair have a simple philosophy: create a friendly and fun atmosphere and encourage youngsters to explore all sorts of different sports as they grow and develop. “We work hard on making sessions fun, and we work hard on developing a sense of community. We deliver in varied venues from parks, to a sea cadet hall, to a local church, and we deliver in some of the most deprived postcodes. There are sessions available every single day for young people, at a cost of just 30p a session. We work to support our local junior parkrun, and also work with the local charity ‘Hearts 4 Refugees’ to offer free sessions to refugee children and a ‘pick up and drop off’ service. We have also started a free cross-country series for local primary schools, that attracted over 245 runners in the first three weeks,” says Rohan. 

“We have growing demand every week, and primary schools that have historically had low participation are asking us to deliver additional activities. Each week we have new young people joining, and in a brilliant development, Mums have now started to get involved and created their own run group that is expanding quickly.” 

“Sarah and Ronan have been amazing with all the children. It’s such a great place to come and for the children to get involved,” one proud parent told Mersey Sport Live in an interview about the growing success the club is now enjoying. 

And the Personal Best Foundation funding will help to build on this success. This first round of funding, which the Warriors were part of will ensure that even more children and young people from low-income families can enjoy the benefits of being active and to have the opportunity of achieving their personal best.