Competing in the sport of athletics is likely to be one of the most rewarding decisions you will ever make. As a truly global sport, the opportunities are significant, and here in New Zealand we have fantastic clubs, coaches and facilities to help you on your journey.
Athletics isn’t just one sport, it encompasses a variety of disciplines that mean almost anyone can train, compete and excel.
Hurdling includes both the ‘high hurdles’ over shorter distances of 80m – 110m, and the ‘low hurdles’ over 300m and 400m. Besides having good basic speed, hurdlers often possess great coordination, balance and rhythm.
Trail running is quickly becoming the fastest growing aspect of our sport. Many private event companies run great events that you can compete
in. Athletics New Zealand hosts
national championships, and from
this, teams can be selected for
Oceania and World Trail Running championships.
The throwing events are a primary focus for our High Performance department, and include shot put, discus, hammer and javelin. In New Zealand we are very lucky to have a number of world class coaches working across these events, and we are always looking to introduce more talented athletes to the throws events.
If you are not afraid of a little bit of dirt and mud, and enjoy getting out amongst nature, then Cross Country might be the sport for you! Our New Zealand Cross Country season runs from April through August, and involves challenging races of various distances over farms, public parks and reserves. Cross Country is open to athletes of all ages and abilities.
New Zealand has a long and proud history in the sport of Race Walking, which has been a part of the Olympic programme since 1904. Many runners successfully transition into race walking, and New Zealand is home to a vibrant community of walkers, who associate with Race Walking NZ. At the 1908 Olympics, Harry Kerr become the first New Zealander to win an Olympic medal, picking up bronze in the 3500m walk. Norman Reid won Olympic Gold in Melbourne 1956, and our international tradition continues, with Alana Barber and Quentin Rew carrying the torch at the international level.
Each year Athletics New Zealand hosts two major ultra racing championships – the 100km, and the 24hour race. These events are well attended, and again spots are available for Asia-Oceania and World Championship team selection.
The decathlon and heptathlon are a combination of many different track and field events, with the winners of this event laying claim to being the best all-around athletes in the world. Basic speed and power, combined with the discipline to learn multiple techniques is required to excel in these exciting events.
The jumps include long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault. Summer clubs provide training and opportunities for the first three jumps, but pole vault requires specialist equipment and coaching that may not be available in all areas. New Zealanders tend to be great natural jumpers, so be sure to give these events a try!
Middle and Long-Distance Track Running
Running is the simplest and purest sport on the planet and can be done almost anywhere. In New Zealand we have a proud history as one of the world’s best middle- and long-distance running nations. There are specialty coaches across the country, and Athletics NZ club membership gives you access to an exciting and vibrant series of events to compete in, no matter your ability.
Athletics New Zealand hosts Road championships over various
distances each year, including the
half marathon, marathon, and short form road championships (10km for adults).
Each year Athletics New Zealand hosts our national mountain running championship, which alternates from being a “up and down” hill course, to an all uphill course each year. From this championship teams are selected to attend the World Mountain Running Championships, which is an event New Zealand has a strong record in.
Sprinting events include the 100m, 200m and 400m. Offered in every region around New Zealand, the majority of clubs have the equipment and coaching expertise to help you get started as a sprinter. Sprint speed can give team-sport players a significant advantage, which is part of what makes athletics such a popular summer sport.
Para athletics is the sport of athletics for people with a range of impairments. Para athletes compete in a track, road and field events. Para athletics events are held for men and women over a range of classifications and events. In total there are three impairment groups athletes can compete in: Physical Impairment, Vision Impairment, Intellectual Impairment. You can find more information on competing as a Para athlete and classification here. New Zealand has a very strong Para athletics programme and domestic competition and is always keen to get more Para athletes involved!
Want to get involved in Athletics?
Join a Club
Athletics Clubs across the country offer fun, inclusive and exciting programmes for all ages. If you are looking to try new skills, make new friends or event get a little competitive then Athletics could be for you. Come and join in the fun! All ages and abilities are welcome, including para athletes (athletes with a physical, vision or intellectual impairment).
To find an Athletics club near you use our Club Finder tool. You can search by location, age group, event type and facilities.
New Zealand Secondary School Athletics Association (NZSSAA)
NZSSAA organize New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics Championships annually at various centres throughout New Zealand and work directly with schools around New Zealand. They also organise and select teams to take part in International secondary school age group competitions. Find out more about the NZSSAA here.
Masters Athletics (35 years+)
Masters Athletics is open to anyone over 35 years of age. Clubs that cater to Masters Athletes can be found by using the Club Finder search tool, and many Athletics New Zealand Championship events have categories for Masters age grades, or master athletes can compete as senior athletes. New Zealand Masters Athletics conducts annual national athletics championships for masters athletes in New Zealand. Find out more about New Zealand Masters Athletics here.