Doncaster Athletic Club will make their British Men’s League debut in their opening Division Four meeting at Derby on Saturday.
The Keepmoat Stadium club, who will host the last of the four league meetings in early August, will line up against Brighton & Hove, Rugby & Northampton, Reading, City of Portsmouth as well as Derby & Mansfield.
“It’s a massive step for the club and we are all excited but we are also quite cautious because we don’t know what we will be up against as it is a level that we’ve never been before and it’s also a level most of our athletes have never been at,” said club chairman Kev Lincoln in an exclusive interview.
“We are hoping to get the best we can out of the experience and hopefully we’ll all be a bit wiser after we’ve got the first one out of the way.
“As a club we are naturally cautious and take it one step at a time and there are financial implications the higher you go.
“Logic would say that we are happy to continue where we are for the immediate future and our main concern this season is consistency over the four league meetings.”
But the man who has provided inspired leadership at the club since it moved to the Keepmoat Stadium nine years ago, doesn’t rule out mounting a promotion challenge should the situation present itself and says the fact that the final meeting will be on home soil is an advantage should they find themselves in contention.
He added: “We’ve strengthened where we felt that we needed too with athletes from other clubs who wanted to join us because of our British League status.
“But we’ve not wanted our own athletes to miss out because we’ve got people coming in from other clubs and, as I say, the external athletes are mainly filling gaps.”
In addition to ‘beefing up’ their squad, the club has also boosted their coaching set-up since last season.
Despite their success, on and off the track, the club has not run out of ambitions.
“We’ve got some good young female athletes coming through and the next step is to get a team in the women’s league and that could happen within a couple of years or so,” said Lincoln.
“It’s just a case of continuing to develop the young athletes we’ve got and hopefully retaining them.”
The club has certainly progressed quicker than anyone could have predicted when first moving to the complex they now have control over.
They have more than tripled their membership in that time and the rise looks set to continue.
“Membership enquiries have gone through the roof in the last couple of weeks, possibly due to interest in the Olympics,” said Lincoln, who added the club’s achievements had not gone unnoticed.
“A very senior national athletics official said to me recently, completely out of the blue, that the prestige of the club within the sport is really soaring.
“He said what a fantastic club it was and that it was growing and had got a good reputation.
“I must admit that we host meetings well, but is not something that I’d ever stopped to think about because you just get on with doing the everyday things you need to do, but it’s nice to hear.”
Doncaster Athletic Club caters for Track and Field, Road Running and Cross Country athletes of all levels and now has over 500 members.
The club’s main training evenings are Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm.