We held the 76th AGM of Owairaka Athletics on 10 June 2020 - a bit later than originally scheduled, due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Following is President Natasha Muschamp's report on the 2019/2020 year.
This year has posed obvious challenges. In terms of last year’s winter and the start of this summer season, we were in a position to begin to promote the club more widely. However the Covid 19 pandemic meant that we had to cut our season slightly short and our our prizegiving couldn't happen in person. This has meant a slow down in the start of our 2020 Winter season but we are hoping it will pick up. Here are some of the highlights of the year:
In 2019 we hit a timing hiccup with our Owai 5 races. We had moved the race to access our summer members as participants and supporters and found unfortunately that our move clashed with a school-supported triathlon event that many of our families were involved in. We will address this in 2020 with better timing. Nigel Mather has retired as race director and we are seeking a new one.
Another big event was our historic and popular King and Queen of the Mountain race. We continue to grow this race in a sustainable way and to use it as both afundraising opportunity and a fun way to raise the profile of the club in the community.
Through the winter we were heavily involved in a fun run through the newly developed Te Auaunga, which was a huge success and raised the profile of the club in the community.
Our Summer series 5 and 2.5 Km runs continued under the fantastic organisation of Toni Munro.
Adult runners (harriers)
Another good year for seniors led by Nick and his team. The biggest change over the year has been to senior training and huge thanks to coach Bazyl Piotrowski for all his efforts. Bazyl came on board and we started training on Tuesday and Thursday nights in July 2019 and numbers have grown significantly from the 2 or 3 who used to come down on Wednesday to 5-8 when we first started training on Tuesdays and Thursdays to our current numbers, which are between 15 and 20 most club nights.
Training is open to Bazyl's private run group clients, Owai members and prospective club members. Bazyl writes the sessions, we post them on our club Strava page, and have started putting these up on Facebook too, and it all works well. We have enough people now for pace groups which makes things way less intimidating for new people.
A group of athletes trained towards the Bays Night of 5s with a series of time trials and 5000m specific work in November / December and sessions will be tailored around what's going on in the athletics calendar, be it cross country, road, track or marathon work. During the summer athletics season, we also had the Owai 5k in the Park series running on Wednesdays so effectively there was something going on for adult runners Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and a chance for senior runners to be visible on Wednesday nights for kids and parents. The emphasis in the training is on development, having fun and there has been lots of progress across the whole squad as they train together.
The training is attracting local runners (sub elite) from the community most of whom have never previously been involved in an athletics club. Some are slower, some are quicker. It is still heavily male dominated but increasingly ethnically diverse and more younger runners are getting involved. Our wider Strava group has 112 members and a far larger proportion of women ... but getting more women actively involved remains a challenge and a priority. The training group is focused on distance running 1500 / 3000m and up. We do not really cater for sprinters and field events and during the summer season were getting quite a few enquiries for sprints in particular so this is another area for future development.
There were some great results over the year in local, national and international events.
The Owai squad did well taking out the Auckland XC Masters Teams race once again and the MM40s competed strongly at the NZ Road Relays in Feilding coming 5th in a very competitive division. This year, we will have a MM40s team plus a MM50 team and hopefully a Senior Men's team.
In terms of individuals, here are a few highlights:
Andrew McDowall finished the prestigious UTMB and represented New Zealand in the World 24 Hour Track Champs in Albi.
Daniel Coates ran a number of superb marathons - 2nd Age group at the Gold Coast Marathon 2.42 and followed up with 2:44 in the New York Marathon. Locally, he won his age group and was 10th overall at Rotorua. He is establishing himself this year as the man to beat in M50 age group.
Caroline Guy won Gold New Zealand Half Marathon Champs (MW 40-44) (Dunedin) for the 2nd year running.
Dion O'Neale ran 2.49 at the Berlin Marathon.
Nick Moore won gold MM45 at the National XC Champs and 10k Road Champs setting a NZ 10k Road Record for the MM45 age group.
Keith Burrows 2:53 at the Auckland Marathon - MM40 Auckland Marathon Champion
Adam Gallagher 1st MM35 North Island XC Champs (Taupo)
Bethany Bromfield 2nd SW at the Coatesville Half Marathon and 3rd SW Round The Bays 2020.
Julian Ng ran 1.18 in the Sydney Half Marathon
Tim Morrison Akl M50 Champ - 1500m and 3000m
These competitive athletes are coached by Hamish Meacheam. We are very proud of their achievements and love it when we see them at the club on club nights. A goal for us as a club is to get some representation on our committee from this sector of the club. Highlights this year have been:
World Para athletics Championships; Keegan Pitcher attended the championships held in Dubai, finishing 13th over 1500m in a new P.B.
Alyssa Baxter qualified for this event but choose not to attend due to school commitments.
New Zealand Secondary School Athletics; Alyssa Baxter and Aiden Hogg both competed at this event, Aiden scoring new PB’s in multiple events and setting an NZ junior record in the Long Jump for his classification. Alyssa was selected to the NZ Secondary Schools track and field team, and was awarded an “athlete of the meet” award.
Athletics NZ T&F Championships; Alyssa Baxter and Keegan Pitcher were the only two Owairaka athletes to attend the national track and field championships. Keegan finished second in his favoured 1500m event, and Alyssa won the Long Jump competition as well as collecting medals over 100m and 200m.
A possible highlight of the season was the long jump competition at the Auckland Championships, where Aiden Hogg bettered his New Zealand long jump record with a jump of 4.65m, and Alyssa Baxter smashed her record with a 3.96. Alyssa’s 3.96 performance is only 10cm off a Paralympic qualification mark, and would have ranked her 12th in the world in 2019.
Juniors - winter
Our junior winter runners squad led by Julie Collard and Kate Doherty and supported by parents and senior squad athletes met through the winter. The group sat at 10 this last season. But a strong programme was developed and we are ready to advertise for this coming winter season and are expecting an increase in this area. This group had a great sense of team spirit and fun, commitment and organisation. They were also involved in competitions. This group really embodied many of the things the committee see as vital to the club’s future. We are ready to pursue sustainable growth for this group.
Juniors - summer
This summer for the first time in a couple of years we felt in a position to promote the children’s summer programme to our local schools. Junior athletes Nina, Calum and Peggy made their small screen debut in a series of Run Jump Throw skill videos produced by Athletics NZ.
This busy and well supported squad was led by Nigel, supported by Leah and Helene. The children followed the Ready Set Go programme and were happy and learning every Wednesday. Nigel is retiring from the Committee and this leadership role - a challenge for us is to ensure that his replacement does just as good a job. Training was offered to parents in this programme through Athletics NZ at the start of the season.
This year Lorraine led the Snell Squad. We have some regular parental support but it is stressful managing the adult support numbers for this group. Training was offered to parents in this programme through Athletics NZ at the start of the season.
Run Jump Throw activities were generally well-received by children and we received positive feedback from parents. Ideas around age group managers did not come to fruition but this is a great goal for next season. We are also hoping to encourage and engage a greater pool of volunteer coaches. And have investigated paying for outside couches to support this squad. Lorraine is retiring from this role and the committee we are very grateful for her service to the club and a challenge will be to find a new person to take the reins of the Snell Squad this coming season.
We were once again invited to attend the Graham Douglas International track challenge at the Trusts Stadium. It was a great opportunity for our junior athletes to try their hand at competition outside of the club, and get inspired by the senior athletes competing afterwards. Club Legend Arthur Lydiard was also acknowledged and celebrated at this event. We hope to build our junior athletics competition squad in the seasons to come and attend more events like this.
Julie supported by Kate led the younger part of the squad. They were a lovely group which grew from last year and had a great team spirit.
Murray Cumberpatch led the senior and more competitive group. This group is represented by Selena Gee on our Committee. A lot of the Lydiard group ventured out to Mt Smart this season trying more age group competition & with good success. Next season we hope to grow the comp squad further.
Here are some Lydiard Squad highlights:
Solomon Randerson & Henry Hills were selected for this year's Trans Tasman children’s athletics event in January and represented Owai with pride. Sol also represented Owai at the Colgate Games in Taranaki, along with Aiden Hogg.
Great results at the Auckland champs - 15 athletes representing the club, from Jett in Grade 9 thru to Wolfgang in the Masters 70 Grade.
As stated previously Alyssa Baxter - has a new national record in the long jump - beating her own previous record by 25cm. Her jump of 3.96 is a new u17, u20 and NZ women's record for her classification. She also won her 100m event.
Aiden Hogg - Men U17 1st long jump, 2nd 100m in his classification
Peggy Taylor - Grade 10 girls 1st 400m, 2nd long jump
Selena: won senior 100m and 200m at central western zones, broke PBs multiple times for 100m and 200m during summer season at Mt Smart. Ranked currently in NZ and Auckland for U20s women 100m. Competed at Interprovincial with U18 Girls team won their medley relay and U18 overall placing 2nd. Qualified for Auckland Champs
Danielle McMurray: 2nd in 100m, 4th in 200m for Central western Zones, qualified for Auckland Champs
Hudson:3rd in 100m at CW Zones.
Sophia: 3rd in 300m for CE Zones, qualified for Auckland Champs.
We had 224 members. All of our squad numbers grew the largest area of growth was in the 7-14 year age group which grew by 38 members.
Is through SportsTG and is all electronic. This is now operating more smoothly.
We launched our new website in June 2019, and upped our regular communication with our members and the wider community through this new & easy to maintain site, as well as monthly email newsletters, and posts on Facebook, Instagram & Strava. Thanks for this massive improvement in our comms goes to Kate supported by Nick and Nigel.
Junior uniforms are now being sourced from a new provider who is considerably cheaper and provides a very fast turnaround. We had a problem with our new supplier’s printing and a solution to this is continuing to be sorted.
The preference is for adult uniforms to remain the same (for team consistency) due to lower turnover. These will continue to be sourced from SAS.
There is some appetite for a Club hoodie and a design and supplier continue to be pursued.
Uniforms are donated to the club as kids grow and our thanks to Sarah who has coordinated both new and 2nd hand uniforms. Members can also sell 2nd hand uniforms on our facebook page.
Our long term vision is for the Club to be:
A fun, family friendly community that reflects the diversity of Owairaka, where athletes enjoy a supportive environment, connected to Athletics NZ best practice and supporting both competitive excellence and fun.
We have 4 main areas of focus:
Engage and reflect our community
Grow our coaching capability
Retain our athletes
Link to the wider athletics system
I believe that over the last year we have improved in all of these areas.
This coming year we expect the new committee to set SMART goals in each of these areas. Including setting up a scholarship fund, building our Competition Squad and building our coaching capacity.
We want a more diverse committee and I encourage anyone here keen to be involved to volunteer to be on the committee tonight.
It has been an honour to serve as the President with such a wonderful, hardworking, pragmatic, inspiring, flexible and easy going committee. I am really excited about the year ahead and proud of the progress we have made.
Thanks to the committee
I would like to acknowledge all of the Committee but in particular the 2 who are retiring
Nigel and Lorraine, thank you both for your hard work, innovation and good humour.
To the wider committee: Julie, Kate, Selena, Nick, Pete and Dion - thank you for your service and thank you also for being willing to continue on the committee in this coming Athletics year.