News & Updates

9 September 2021 • General

Athletics back underway at Alert Level 2

With all regions outside of Auckland moving to Covid-19 Alert Level 2 earlier this week, athletics is making the most of the fresh opportunities that the lifting of restrictions has provided.

Athletics Canterbury has reacted with speed and efficiency to ensure its annual road championships will proceed on Saturday (September 11) at Burwood Forest Park within all the Covid safety protocols, after the initial postponement due to lockdown.

Coincidentally, the Canterbury Road Championships last year also went ahead at Alert Level 2 – so the Centre is well practiced at putting on an event under such restrictions which limit outdoor events to no more than 100.

“It is important the event goes ahead and that we reconnect with our community of runners,” explains Athletics Canterbury General Manager Ian Thomas.

“They’ve been able to keep fit within their bubbles and our job is to not only make sure they can get back competing, but they fully understand the Level 2 rules we have in place.”

“The Cross Country and Road committee did a lot of work last year around events at a Level 2 to make them viable and safe for everybody and we have a good base plan to work from this year.”

The 2020 Canterbury Road Championships attracted more than 150 athletes; however, the event was able to go ahead because races for different age-groups are run in separate waves.

This year’s event will be no different with athletes restricted to groups of one or two age-groups dependent on numbers. To further ensure the rules are implemented, a separate warm up and down areas has been designated so each group can warm up and down within a safe bubble of no more than 100 people.

While events are re-emerging at an Alert Level 2, dozens of coaches up and down the country will breathe a sigh of relief at the easing of restrictions.

Masterton-based Mark Harris says moving to Level 2 has allowed for face-to-face coaching once again after several weeks of training via Zoom.

While admitting certain protocols need to be put in place, re-starting training on Wednesday night at the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl in Masterton was a big moment as a coach and for his training group, which includes 2020 New Zealand U20 3000m champion Liam Lamb and national U20 10,000m race walking gold medallist Lucas Martin.

“It’s exciting to be able to see people’s faces again, have some fun and to be able to coach again in a non-virtual way,” adds Mark.

Athletics NZ CEO Pete Pfitzinger was also excited that athletics was once again picking up momentum: “We are delighted that winter running competitions and training squads are starting back up at Alert Level 2 across New Zealand, with the exception of Auckland. The road season is a key component of the winter calendar and was at risk of not going ahead, so the quick move to Alert Level 2 is welcomed. Many thanks for Canterbury and other centres and clubs that are moving ahead with training and competitions under Alert Level 2 guidelines.”