presented by Natasha Muschamp at the Owairaka Athletics AGM, Wednesday 13 April
This last year has posed its obvious continued challenges. Repeated lockdowns and restrictions due to Covid 19 have made things very difficult for all of us. The committee has worked hard and been innovative in the way we have sought solutions for our various challenges. We decided as a committee to keep things doable for us and also to have as few changes as possible deciding that our members needed consistency. For this reason and from a deep desire to keep our community safe we returned in a very staggered, safe and sustainable way to athletics.
Previous to 2020 we had worked with Athletics NZ support on our Strategic Plan and we had started to make good gains towards our goals. Obviously our progress has been negatively impacted by Covid. We still have work to do in building diversity within the club. We continue to work towards increasing our number of adult female athletes. And we need to grow richer relationships within our culturally diverse local community. We still need to build our throwing and jumping capacity. These are things that the incoming committee will hopefully be inspired to work on with the typical Owai innovation, warmth and practicality.
The gains we had made as a club in the year preceding Covid’s arrival have been somewhat reversed in terms of membership. However, our hope is that, as our highly vaccinated community learns to live with Covid, we will have more stable access to our track, clubrooms and each other. In terms of committee capabilities we are in a good position to once again grow membership and to nurture richer relationships with our diverse community.
Adult Runners (Harriers)
Senior running at Owairaka. Thank you to Nick and the team.
Despite another year of more COVID disruptions, 2021-22 has seen steady growth in senior membership and lots of successes in cross country, road and on the track. Locally there are exciting things happening around the senior club scene with the arrival of The Whippets Running Project, the Bays Babes and TTT Runners giving the local scene a bit of a welcome shake up.
Building squad strength
Training continues on Tuesday and Thursday evenings led by Bazyl Piotrowski. Numbers have begun to grow again since COVID mitigation measures were relaxed. The group continues to be a mixture of club members, competitive athletes as well as more socially orientated runners and acts as a feeder for club membership. Bazyl has time for anyone who wants to get stronger whether they run 15 minutes for a 5k or 30 minutes plus. We’re picking up membership and referrals from parkrun as well as from random web contacts. In 2022 we’re looking to build relationships with more social running groups around the city to build critical mass. These strategic relationships with local groups are the key to building our community and future success. As we’ve said before, more flexible membership options from Athletics New Zealand and Athletics Auckland would be really helpful with recruitment.
Claire Kenyon has been coordinating #owaiwomen over the year and there are good signs in terms of building a women’s squad. Bethany’s successes and networking are also critical to this success.
James Marsh has been spearheading a senior men’s squad which is gradually gaining in strength.
A few highlights of the year
April 2021 – Auckland Half Marathon Champs: Bethany Bromfield 1st; David Bagot 2nd, Keith Burrows 1st M45, Dan Coates 1st M50.
April 2021 – National Senior Marathon Champs, Christchurch - Ewan Sinclair 6th, 2.33; Nick Moore 7th 2:34; Simon Mace 12th 2:38; Mitch Cantlon 16th 2:41.
May 2021: Hawkes Bay Marathon - Bethany Bromfield 1st; Dan Coates 3rd.
May 2021: Rotorua Marathon – Ewan Sinclair 3rd
Local Auckland XC and road (May-July)
We had a full winter season of local cross country in 2021 with good numbers out racing in the mud over the winter and lots of people trying cross country for the first time. We had a proper tent for the season, which was fantastic and newly redesigned kit. Again the mens’ masters team won the Teams race. At the Auckland XC Champs, Adam Gallagher was 2nd M35, Simon Mace 1st M40, Nick Moore 1st M45. Claire Kenyon 1st M35 Grand Prix Series.
As well as the heavily officiated Grand Prix series, the winter scene had some more relaxed interclub highlights. We coordinated a rather rowdy O Hagans 5k road showdown against Wesley Athletic. This was a big hit. Wesley hosted a cross country race at Cornwall Park. Pakuranga had a crazy, muddy interclub in the middle of winter that ended in their bar. Glen Eden’s cross country / trail race at Bethells was a fantastic event and definitely one to get a bigger team to this year. ACA Pairs was fun too except everyone had to isolate afterwards!
August - National Cross Country Champs, Dunedin. Owairaka was well-represented in the Auckland team at the champs with Claire Kenyon, James Marsh, Simon Mace and Nick Moore making the trip to Dunedin. Simon took out the M40s title, Nick claimed the M45s and they were both part of a dominant Auckland team that won the team race.
Then COVID struck. Our Owai 5 Mile race was postponed, then cancelled. The Auckland Road Champs were cancelled. Sadly, we couldn’t travel to the National Road Champs. And most disappointingly, we couldn’t get to the Road Relays, but we’ll be there this year!
Jan 2022 – Aotearoa Ultra 101km. Sophie Broome 2nd.
Feb 2022 Devonport Half Marathon: James Marsh 1st.
Local track season (October to March)
The local track scene is on a bit of a resurgence at the moment despite starting off with significant COVID mitigation measures. This is great to see. Fields have been bigger than in previous years and there has been lots of close racing with well-seeded fields based on time rather than age. Well done Athletics Auckland officials.
Lots of Owai runners (Michael Early, Simon Mace, Ben Winder, Adrian Earl, Nick Moore, Tim Morrison, Keith Burrows, Matty Head, David Bagot, Mitch Cantlon) have been involved in the McKinnon Shield, Auckland Track and Field Champs, local ACA Track Nights and the Night of 5s. A huge highlight has been Simon Mace’s performances over the summer including pbs in 3000m, 5000m and a superb 10,000m in just a tick over 32 minutes. He is in the form of his life and is currently training for the national marathon championships in Christchurch. Go Simon. #goowai.
Another Owai athlete hoping for big things is Naoki Toyomura who competes in Modern Pentathlon. He's recently headed to Europe to try to qualify for New Zealand for the Paris Olympics. Good luck Naoki.
King and Queen of the Mountain After a cancellation in 2020, this historic event was back in June. We had a fine day, a good turn out and both mens and womens records were broken by Nick Moore and Sophie Broome respectively.
Owai 5 Mile - Once again Julian Ng stepped up to be race director surrounded by a keen group of committee members ready to create another fantastic event. Unfortunately due to Covid the Owai 5, our premier event was unable to go ahead. Again I am confident that this will grow in strength with an increasingly more stable environment.
These competitive athletes are coached by Hamish Meacheam and others. We are very proud of their achievements and love it when we see them out competing, or training at the club. A goal for us as a club is to get some representation on our committee from this sector. This year has been particularly challenging for this group of athletes. We hope that Para athletes will continue to join the club and enjoy success.
Kate Danaher placed first in the 100m & 200m U17 Para at the Athletics Auckland Track & Field Championships.
Our Lightning Bolts squad - led by Nick & Dion & supported by Kate, Sophie and parents grew this year, despite lockdown challenges. We surveyed members and got good feedback, kept things fun and varied, learned new drills and skills, and had lots of laughs along the way. Some of our athletes competed at interclub events, and many continued on to participate in summer athletics and are back for the season ahead.
Nick did a great presentation for Athletics NZ on the Lightning Bolts programme:
Top 10 placings from the Grand prix series Pukekohe GP1
Girls U10 Aadhini Rajkumar (10th)
Girls U12 Millie Gatie (9th)
Boys U12 William Moulder (9th)
Girls U10: Mingxi (Cici) Zhang (1st)
Girls U12: Mingrui (Ray) Zhang (1st), Millie Gatie (8th)
GP3 - Teams champs
Girls U10: Mingxi (Cici) Zhang (2nd)
Girls U12: Mingrui (Ray) Zhang (1st), Millie Gatie (10th)
Girls U14: Peggy Taylor (8th)
Boys U14: 4th in Teams race (William Moulder, Kieran Galvin, Lachlan Cameron)
Men U18: Jack Jia (10th)
GP4 - Long Bay
Girls U12 Millie Gatie (9th)
Auckland XC Champs & GP5
Girls U10: Mingxi (Cici) Zhang (1st)
Girls U12: Mingrui (Ray) Zhang (1st), Millie Gatie (8th)
Men U18: Jack Jia (9th)
Halberg Squad The Halberg Squad was to be coached by Helene & Winona, but Covid made sure we couldn't get underway for the first half of the season. Once we did start back, numbers were low. With the girls being busy teens, both of them completed some solo evenings. When they both got busy, Julie stepped in to take a few weeks too. Winona finished out the season on her own and is looking to continue next year together with mum Julie stepping up to manage the group. Thanks, Helene, for your commitment over the years and the wonderful videos you made for the group in lockdown. You're welcome back any time!
There was a core bunch of very enthusiastic littlies who loved any activity thrown at them. They had boundless energy, and the older, school-age, ones led the bunch with pretty good listening and lining up skills. Running, jumping and throwing were among the core activities, along with crawling or rolling over, under and through obstacles. Making pretty much every activity into a game kept attention spans engaged.
All parents were helpful when asked, but, as usual, it would be great to have some step up to take a more active volunteer role. Because the season was so short, and numbers low it was decided not to hold any form of championship this season, but hopefully that added level of competition will return next season.
Snell Squad This year in response to a continued lack of volunteer support we once again engaged Kelly Sport to coach the Snell squad through the Athletics NZ programme Run Jump Throw. These activities were very well-received by the 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. Thank you to Bart and his Team and to the parents who helped at club champs.
Lydiard Squad The younger Lydiard Squad members were coached by the fantastic and inspiring Nick and Dion. This is a growing group and with a more stable environment I am sure that it will grow from strength to strength. We started evenings with a rotation with a good range of athletics activities balanced with fitness and strengthening. Running challenges were laid down by Nick and Dion to increase distance and to develop speed with intervals, surges and tempo runs.
Congratulations to Gemma Kivell who placed 3rd in the 800m and 1500m at her first Auckland Champs event.
Comp. Squad This group of young sprinters continues to be inspired and nurtured by Murray Cumberpatch, whose professionalism and care is greatly appreciated. It has been wonderful to see a great training & competing team developing and the number of athletes is always growing.
Season highlights for our athletes:
Selena Gee - 2nd 200m Athletics Auckland Senior Champs
Sophia Urlich - 3rd long jump - Secondary School Champs and Athletics Auckland Senior Champs
Peggy Taylor - 1st 200m, 3rd 400m - NI Colgate Games (12G); 2nd 200m, 400m - Athletics Auckland Senior Champs; 3rd 300m - Auckland Secondary School Champs
Ivan Evangelista had a great first season competing and showing constant improvement, and Henry and Mo Qi also did well.
Other athletics competition highlights this season
Nina Chalmers: 2nd 80m Hurdles, 3rd 1500m Athletics Auckland Junior Champs (14G); 3rd long jump Auckland Secondary School Champs - as well as several PBs and school records
Bella Earl: 2nd 3000m - Athletics Auckland Senior Champs (U18), after winning the U16s national xc title in Dunedin
Pete did amazing work with council to confirm our lease for the next 10 years. Thank you so much Pete you really took one for the team and we are grateful for all the hours you put into that.
Regular whole club newsletters sent to our community, as well as targeted comms to specific groups, incl weekly Facebook and Strava posts for senior runners, and WhatsApp posts for junior winter running. Regular social posts to engage our wider community - Facebook, Instagram, Strava - including live updates from events.
Thank you to Helene and her little crew for the Halberg videos made and posted during restrictions.
Shout-out to all the photographers who have helped to showcase the best of Owai this year. Thanks for this massive effort goes to Kate supported by Nick and many others.
Great to see the new singlets in action this season, with more new kit to come.
Thank you to James for the design and production and to Thank you to Yasha Agarwal for the sponsorship.
Park Users Meetings
The Park Users Meetings have been paused with a change in facilitators. I expect that as a club we will continue to contribute to the development plans for the park. It is useful and productive to maintain our positive relationships with the other main users. And to maintain our presence as one of the traditional and original users of the park.
We continue to be supportive of their activities and open to richer relationships.
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’s best practice and supporting both competitive excellence and fun.
We have 4 main foci to:
Engage and reflect our community,
Grow our coaching capability,
Retain our athletes,
Link to the wider athletics system
The last year has been a huge challenge and we have looked to tread water and to survive the covid storm. All of our decisions are based in our vision and strategic plan and with hopefully increasing community stability we will be able to gain more traction in achieving our goals within our foci.
This coming year I imagine the new committee will 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.
Thank you to all of the parents and athletes who turn up and get stuck in and make the club happen.
At this AGM I am retiring as President and from the committee but not from the club. Blair and our wider family will continue to be involved. My family have been down at the track for over 10 years supporting the club and supporting my volunteering. Thank you my family for never complaining about all of the things I have volunteered you for. Thank you for understanding that service is important and a privilege. Thank you for your support.
I don’t really know anything about athletics. I know about people though and I respect and I am inspired by the history of the club. When club legend Syd Morrow handed me the presidential Baton in 2016 the responsibility of keeping our historic club going and to build it weighed heavily on me but it needn’t have. I have been surrounded by fantastic support.
Thank you to the coaches that support the club, Hamish for your para expertise and Athletics NZ guidance. Thank you to Bazyl for supporting our adult athletes. And Murray how do I thank you enough for your calm, welcoming, knowledgeable guidance and support. I have really valued our chats and your expertise. Thank you for your service.
Thank you to Helene and Winona for your innovation and energy with the Halberg Squad.
Syd and Annette, Pat and Toni, Kathy, Christine, Arch, Kevin and others kept Owai going for years through very difficult times. They gave us our historic, friendly community based old school club. And with the unfailing support of our fantastic committee. We now have a historic, friendly, inclusive, community based full club which is innovative.
I have been so humbled and inspired by working with the committee members. It has been a true and real joy and inspiration to get to know them.
Julie - like me you have been around forever. You work hard and straight and you are flexible and I value your friendship. Thank you.
Kate - Uniforms! Lightning bolts, comp squad,your comms and humour and common sense and innovation and energy have kept me sane. Thank you.
Selena - I am so impressed by your willingness to serve and your determination. I really value your contributions to the club.
Claire - I enjoyed our car rides and your enthusiasm and energy and ideas. Thank you.
Nick - Our Adult programme exists because of you. Thank you for Lightening bolts. Your energy, hard work, openness, lack of ego and your willingness to go to terrifyingly boring meetings instead of me, your positivity are all things I am massively grateful for.
Pete - the club can’t function without a good treasurer and you are awesome. I have appreciated your indulgence of my humour and your flexibility and ideas around how to make the money and membership work. And I only agreed to do my last term as president because you agreed to deal with the council. Thank you!
Dion - man you have had an epic year! And I have been so stunned by your continued good humour, good advice and upbeat engagement especially with our younger athletes you amaze me.
Kuldeep - I appreciate your willingness to do the jobs that the rest of us couldn’t. You are a real team player, I have appreciated your quite contributions and hard work.
James - it has been lovely getting to know you and I am excited to see where your great design sense, hard work, inquiring mind and positive perspective will take the club. Thank you for your willingness, innovation and hardwork.
Thank you all for your service and thank you also for being willing to continue on the committee in this coming Athletics year. It has been such a privilege to work with you and to lead the club through both challenging times and celebrations. I hope that steadier times are ahead and that the Committee and New President can complete our strategic plan and continue to grow our friendly, inclusive and welcoming club.
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini.
Success is not the work of one but the work of many.
Owairaka Athletics Committee for 2022-23
elected at the 2022 AGM
Julie Collard & Kate Doherty