Games at Inglewood all about fun, friendships and competition
In recent weeks I have written about the New Zealand secondary schools championships that were held in Dunedin last weekend.
In my preview I mentioned that there were some surprise omissions from the local entries. One of these mysteries was solved with the news that Kara Macdermid was in Melbourne competing at the Zatopek meeting where she finished third in the junior women's 3000m race.
The Zatopek meeting is one of Australia's most prestigious meetings with many world-class athletes competing.
Also of note was the effort of Chris Sanson the previous weekend in finishing fourth in the elite section of the Taupo half ironman.
■ Mentioning Taupo also reminded me that in February, many business houses are planning to enter their teams in the Round Taupo relay.
The Manawatu Striders Super 7 series would appear to be ideally timed to help participants prepare for this challenge.
The series, consisting of 7km fun run-walks, will be held over seven consecutive Tuesday nights starting on January 15 at 6.15pm from the YMCA Palmerston North Recreation Centre, 148 Park Rd, Palmerston North.
The events will take place regardless of the weather. Organisers have asked that participants respect their decision not to allow dogs or people on scooters or riding bicycles to take part.
They are sure to be lots of fun with the added bonus of a free sausage sizzle and fruit, spot prizes and giveaways at the finish each week.
For more information visit manawatustriders.org.nz or email: email@example.com
■ The children take the limelight with the first major meeting of the new year at the North Island Colgate Games in Inglewood on January 4-6.
I can recommend these games as a great experience for all concerned. I have fond memories of those I have officiated at.
My first Colgates were back in the early 1980s when Palmerston North hosted them at the Sportsground. I was the chief track judge and can remember suffering from three days of exposure to the local winds.
The following year I had moved to Nelson and local officials got wind of my transfer south and roped me in to again be chief judge.
This meeting proved to be extra special as the night before the meeting was to start, Nelson was struck by a severe storm that saw a lot of the essential supplies to the city damaged.
All the tents were flattened and the stadium was a disaster area when we arrived the next morning. The team effort to get things up and running again developed a team spirit I had never experienced before.
The sight of a helicopter hovering overhead, drying out the water-soaked ground, kept the athletes' attention.
Feilding was the venue in the early 1990s which provided another challenge in how to turn Timona Park from an empty sports field into a top-class sports stadium, all with the use of temporary facilities.
Things have changed since those days; electronic timing and photo-finish equipment have taken away the stress the judging panel used to experience every time a 60m race lined up.
Having to place eight athletes correctly when usually less than two metres covered the field certainly tested you.
Palmerston North has a strong contingent travelling to Inglewood and will be fielding relay teams in most age groups.
The team includes 7-year-olds Hannah Huria, Jorjye Popow, Elizabeth Browne and Kimberly Walshe, 9-year-olds Ashleigh Gunn, Nicole Whiteman, Bradyn Popow, Atareta Durie, Tamati Durie, Aden Porritt, Hael Pritchard and Tai O'Callaghan-Solomon.
The 11 girls' 4x100m relay team of Monique Whiteman, Kate Mori, Caitlyn Huria and Tulin Pritchard looks particularly strong with both Monique and Tulin off to Australia shortly after the games to compete in the trans-Tasman challenge.
Emily Fairclough, Lydia Bamford, Stacey Gunn, Courtney Walsh, Jess Gleeson, Kylee Moore, Melissa Blackwood, Courtney Storey and Georgia Whiteman are among some of the older girls competing while Noah Macdermid, Logan Leota, Harrison Porritt, Jacob Aomarere-Poole, Jacob Mori, Edward Fairclough and Adam Fairclough will be representing the males.
I'm certain you will all give your best but more importantly have fun, make lots of new friends, then look forward to the next games.
I must say the flash look of the Palmerston North officials in their new polo shirts are top class. Special thanks to Steve Simcox for making this happen.
The new electronic starting gun has come through its first club night with flying colours. We still need to work on better amplification but it has put to bed the worry of the starting gun caps supply.
Special thanks to Mike King at Manawatu Sound for solving the problem of the gun not triggering the electronic timing sensor.
■ To the readers of my column, athletes and officials, I wish you all a merry Christmas and happy New Year. Take care and stay safe.
December 18 - Palmerston North Programme C (Christmas Special)
December 23 - Scottish Night of Miles, Hutt Rec, 5pm
January 1 - Tauranga Twilight Meeting, Tauranga Domain
January 4-6 - North Island Colgate Games, Inglewood.
January 8 - Palmerston North Programme A
January 15 - Palmerston North Programme B J
January 15 - Manawatu Striders Super 7
January 19 - Potts Classic, Hastings
January 22 - Cooks Classic, Whanganui