News & Updates

7 October 2020 • Community

Athletics Auckland geared for start under reduced levels

On the heels of Monday’s government announcement that all of New Zealand is moving to Alert Level 1 as of 11.59 this Wednesday 7 October, Athletics Auckland is gearing up for a huge start to its track and field season.

While some level of caution is expected, at Alert Level 1 sport can go ahead much like it did in the pre-pandemic era.

“We have a huge opening weekend at Mt Smart Stadium this weekend, and we expect a good crowd will be on hand to learn, participate and support,” Athletics NZ Community Manager Hamish Meacheam says.

“However, we do need to remember that, while there are no mandatory public health requirements, it is important that we remain aware and maintain good hygiene practices.”

All the action kicks off on Saturday with a full array of participation, competition, learning and spectating opportunities.

From 9am on the #2 Arena at Mt Smart Stadium, Athletics Auckland will be providing an introduction to the Athletics NZ Foundation Programmes, Get Set Go and Run Jump Throw. This practical learning and participation experience will be led by Athletics NZ Foundation Programme Lead Steph Biggs and is an opportunity for parents and club administrators to learn about these programmes, which are designed to improve club night delivery of athletics.

Alongside this will be introductory education for officials, covering throws, jumps and health and safety, from 9am until midday.

“The introductory officials course is ideal for those looking to assist on club nights or even get involved in assisting at Athletics Auckland events – more officials makes for better run events for all,” Meacheam says.

Group coaching sessions will also be held for 10 to 14-year-olds from 10.30am until midday, covering relay baton change protocols, hurdle training, triple jump and middle distance.

The McKinnon Shield pre-season meet will then kick off at 2pm, which marks the eagerly-anticipated start of the track and field season in Auckland. These meets are expected to attract some of the top high school talent in the country, with athletes preparing for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships in December.

Finally, at 5.30pm emerging star and leading triathlete Hayden Wilde will attempt to break one of the longest-standing records in New Zealand’s athletics history – the national one-hour record set by the late Bill Baillie in 1963. This race will be streamed live on the Sky Sport Next platform, and is shaping up to be an exciting spectacle.

Information on this weekend’s activities and opportunities can be found on the Athletics Auckland website.

Beyond this weekend, other exciting initiatives in Auckland include the new Don Macfarquhar Series Track Middle Distance Challenge. Named after legendary middle distance coach Don Macfarquhar, the four-event series will award prizes to the best male and female athletes based on performances over 400m, 800m, 1500m and 3000m.

Other highlights in the Auckland region over the coming months include the Athletics NZ Road Race Championships, a series of popular ‘Ribbon Days’ for junior athletes, the annual Dick Quax Memorial Meet and, in late December, the Daiken Bays night of 5’s.

Athletics Auckland Chairperson David Sim is urging all athletes, spectators, coaches and officials to remain vigilant – by washing hands, staying home if sick, scanning QR codes and getting tested if even feeling slightly sick.

“While we will remain prepared to change our plans if required, we are very pleased to be launching our season this weekend, we hope that a good crowd will come out and support us to get the season started in style,” he says.

More information on Athletics Auckland events can be found here.

For detailed information from Athletics NZ on athletics activity under Alert Level 1 please click here

In case the alert levels are increased at any point, please also view our handy club support resource on athletics under Alert Level 2 by clicking here 

At Alert Level 1 it is mandatory for organisations (including clubs and centres) to display a QR code for the NZ COVID Tracer app if they are operating out of their own facility. The process is easy for clubs and centres, for more information please click here