5 April 2023 by Tim Morrison, President, Owairaka Athletics
Welcome everyone to the Owairaka AGM at the conclusion of the summer program and junior prizegiving.
This being my first year as President, I’ve gone from being a runner to being more involved in what makes the club tick and that has been an eye opener.
Firstly there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make this club run that’s not visible sitting on the outside.
Secondly in order for things to happen we rely massively on our volunteers, mostly committee members but others too for all of this to work. I would like to thank the volunteers who generously give their time to the club and without that support we would be severely impacted, particularly the junior program which is a very important part of the club. If we only have the bare minimum of contributors, we can’t develop and grow the club.
The summer program saw a great pickup in numbers, remembering that enrolments for this group had been severely impacted by covid in the previous 2 years. The increase is in part due to people returning, but also due to promotion and the unavailability of some facilities including Mt Smart which is in the process of being resurfaced.
The beginning of the season looked very busy with kids everywhere and took a while to settle into the program. Fantastic to have Julie Collard and Winona Lee taking the little ones, Nick and Dion the “Lightning Bolts” section and having Nanne and TeRina doing specialist coaching on jumps and throws and Kate doing everything else.
It was great to see new coaches of the calibre we have in the club environment and to see the impact over the course of the season. The jumps have seen additional sessions being organized due to tonnes of interest. Throws is an area we have consistently spoken about because of the rising stocks at a New Zealand level on the international stage and we continue to see this as an area to focus on for the community. Murray as always is running his specialist sprint coaching sessions and we were pleased to be able to purchase new blocks for the use of the squad and club.
Later in the season I think we or at least I felt we found our feet more with the junior program and it felt less “chaotic” with the high numbers. There was also more parent involvement particularly as we got into the club champs side of things we really needed the parents to come in and assist with things like timing, measuring and supporting the kids. A reminder for myself is to verbally remind the parents to get involved which can be as easy as asking "what can I do to help?" and I think that’s was happening towards the end. We even had some tremendous help doing the sausages.
Senior distance running report
a few highlights of the 2022/23 year
First of all, a huge thank you to Bazyl Piotrowski who volunteers his time and expertise to coach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 50 weeks of the year. Numbers are up and down but we often have 20 plus turning up for training and a great range of paces and experience. Maybe we have the friendliest training group in Auckland? Bazyl’s efforts are hugely appreciated.
Once again, lots of Owai runners of all ages took part in the local cross country season with considerable success. Our masters team retained their team prize at the Teams Race once again. Our women’s team were 1st on handicap at the Southland Centennial Relays.
Auckland Cross Country Champs
Bella Earl 1st U18 Women, Simon Mace 1st M45
National cross country champs (Taupo)
A superb 2nd overall and an M45 National Title for Simon Mace. Nick was 2nd.
Great run from Bella Earl (2nd U18 women) following her win at the North Islands
And a win for our mixed composite relay team of Simon, Bella, Sascha Letica (borrowed from Takapuna) and Nick
2023 World Cross Country Champs, Bathurst
Bella Earl represented NZ in the U20 Women’s Race. She ran strongly and finished 36th
Simon Mace was 2nd in the M45 Division. Nick Moore was 5th. Wim Luijpers was 2nd in the M50s
National Senior Marathon Champs (Christchurch)
2.27.57 for Simon Mace. 6th overall and a huge marathon PB.
Rotorua Marathon (National Masters Marathon Champs)
Daniel Coates - 3rd overall and National Masters Marathon Champion 2022. Dan also won his age group and was 10th overall at the Hawkes Bay Marathon.
Keith Burrows was 3rd overall. Owai took out the team prize in the half proving it is always worth entering a team and telling your friends to join it too!
Gold Coast Marathon
Troy Harold was 2nd in his age group
3 teams out in Christchurch this year M50s, M35-49s and SMs. Another silver at the road relays for the M35-M49s in Christchurch at the Bottle Lake Forest Park Course. We beat Wellington Scottish for the first time in recent history but were well beaten by a Takapuna team stacked with younger masters. A strong showing from the other two teams.
Auckland Road Champs (Bruce Pulman Park)
Gold for Adrian Earl (M50), Simon Mace (M45)
National Road Champs (Upper Hutt)
1st M45 and Overall Winner M35-49. Simon Mace – 32.30 – national 10k M45 record.
National Half Marathon Champs (Cambridge)
3rd Overall, 1st Master and 1st M45, Simon Mace 1.09:56 – national Half Marathon M45 record. Troy Harold was 1st in M50s. The Owai team got silver.
Ultra and Trail
Konoka Azumi, based in Nelson, has had a great year running for Owai. 4th at Trail Verbier St Bernard in Switzerland in a truly top class international field. She was 3rd in the Crater Rim Ultra which was the New Zealand Trail Running Championships.
Andrew McDowall – 2nd again at Northburn. 3rd in the Southern Sydney 24hr ultra. Legend!
Claire Kenyon has turned to ultra trail running this year and has been picking up some great results. Notably 3rd Female at the Kielder Forest Ultra just this weekend and 3rd age group at the Trail Running Championships.
Keith Burrows retained his National 24 Hour Track Title running 214.4km. Mitchell Carlyle was 1st in his age group. Check out his TikTok page for a bit of coverage!
Bella Earl claimed the U18 title at the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships (Mount Maunganui). Her dad, Adrian took out the M50-54 title.
Wim Luijpers recently broke the national M50 3000m record 9.04.95. Wim also currently holds the M50 Mile record and M50 10k road record. He was awarded NZMA Middle Distance Athlete of the Year for 2021. Nick Moore was awarded NZMA Distance Runner of the Year prize at the same event.
Simon Mace won the M45 title at the 10,000m National Championships in Wellington.
Bella Earl was 1st in the Akl 5000m Champs (U20) at the Night of 5s. David Bagot was 1st in the M30s. Simon Mace was 1st in the M45s. Wim Luijpers was 1st in the M50s.
Bella Earl was 1st in the Akl 3000m Champs (U18).
Nina Chalmers was 2nd in the 800m and 3rd in the 1500m (U16, Auckland Senior Champs, and 2nd in the 800m (14G Auckland Junior Champs)
Nina Chalmers was 2nd in 1500m and 3rd in 800m at the North Island Colgate Games, and 2nd in the 800m (U16) at the Track & Field Nationals, where she was also part of Auckland's winning 4x400m team.
King and Queen of the Mountain was run this year on the new Matariki Holiday. A tradition that we should carry on! We also incorporated a 2.5 k Tamariki Run which was a real success. Bethany Bromfield won the women’s race and set a new course record of 19 minutes flat. Harvey Walsh won the men’s race. The 2.5k Tamariki Run was won by Ava Gatie.
Owai 5 Mile. Tia Knight and Nick Moore were the winners in the Owai 5 Mile race. Fletcher Norrie and Sunday Bartlett were first in the 2.5k kids race.
Joe Giles Mile (run at the Arch Jelley Event). Fastest mile times from club runners were Bella Earl (5.15) and Nick Moore (4.48)
Murray Cumberpatch's sprint squad had a good year with a core group of committed athletes training twice weekly, and several new members. Thanks to Murray for his dedication to the squad, volunteering his time and sharing his expertise week in, week out all year round, and always being open to new members.
Some squad highlights from the season:
Athletics Auckland Track & Field Champs
Selena Gee (SW) 2nd 200m
Vanessa Vandy (MW30) was 1st in 60m & 100m
Penny Kee (MW40) was 1st in 600m, 100m & 200m
Daniel Scott (MM35) was 1st in 800m
Peggy Taylor (U16) 2nd 400m, and at the junior champs (13G) 2nd in 200m, 400m
Peggy Taylor (13G) 3rd 400m
Athletics NZ Track & Field Champs
Peggy Taylor (U16) 4th 400m, 2nd 4x400m
College Sport Auckland Champs
Peggy Taylor (JG) 2nd 200m, 400m, 1st 4x100m relay (MAGS)
The Lightning Bolts were a big success story this year. We had lots of new members and had lots of fun running every week through the winter. Dion invented a new game (Chicken Noodle Tag). This year, it would be good to get a few more Bolts competing through the Junior Relay series and at the Auckland Cross Country events. Big thanks to Dion for your efforts with the squad. Also, thank you to Tim Mitchell for helping out and of course to Kate Doherty, who keeps us organised. Looking forward to the coming season.
Post-Covid, most events returned. From a club perspective we held Arch Jelly’s 100th with a 1 x 100 mile relay event, a special occasion to be remembered. NZ relays were back on after being postponed last year. This year they will be held again in Christchurch , the club will aim for as many teams as will allow. The goal being to compete on an individual team basis but to additionally put the club forward for the overall club prize.
Equipment & facilities
The committee has purchased new equipment this year and has been discussing the purchase and funding strategies for a high jump mat. There is demonstrable support for for this program and we've set up a givealittle page too .
We are also investigating a throws cage which aligns with our focus or supporting throws however this wouldn’t be something the club would fund itself and would need assistance - this is being investigated.
Collaboration with orienteers
A tie in with Auckland Orienteering was initiated last year, which has started with promise, and we look forward to that developing. There is a good relationship between the two groups with the initiative supported by Athletics New Zealand. The club is excited about developing this and the mutual benefits that can accrue.
A large cull of the equipment room was done following the period of the Auckland floods with a lot being disposed of, some by the way of some nifty metal cutting by Pete the toolman Kenny. At this time we also donated a large number of tables and other items to the flood relief which was set up in the Wesley community center and it felt good contributing back to the community. We've also established good relationships with the community centre team and look forward to working with them on future initiatives.
We also supported 14 schools with equipment hire for their athletics days, and Refugees as Survivors for their summer holiday programme, increasing access for many younger people to athletics and other sports at the Lovelock Track (in a period when many other athletics facilities were closed) - a win-win.
We’ve done some great things this year in what has been a difficult period for clubs and event participant based activities, with a bounce back in numbers not guaranteed.
Many thanks again to the committee and the volunteers without which the club doesn’t operate.