Every second year over late January and the start of February I quietly curse the time spent preparing for The New Zealand Masters Games and the time away from preparing our normal athletics coaching and competition programme.
Also every second year at the end of the two days of competition I reflect on how much fun the competition was and how worthwhile it had all been.
The New Zealand Masters is such an important event for our city and the time spent by volunteers is so important for its future.
I was again impressed by a number of our masters and how they come back games after games with the same enthusiasm each time. Chis Allum, a former Javelin star for both the Wanganui Club and the Centre returned to once again demonstrate his prowess over the event with a win with a 41.41 metre throw winning the 50 -54 grade.
Another previous Centre star Lisa Trow (nee Goldingham) highlighted what a good jumper she was winning the 45 -49 with a record performance. Andrew Davenport (Palmerston North) once again showed what a great all round athlete he is. At the younger end of the Masters spectrum Brayden Grant (Palmerston North) set 30 - 34 records over both 400 metres and 800 metres. The former with a run close to 50 seconds and the latter with a sub two-minute effort.
It was good to see some old faces return and once again make many trips to the top of the podium. Gary Rawson in the 55-59 age, Peter Hansen 75-79, Ian Morton 60-64, were amongst the successful returners. Local athletes Philip (Bo Cox) and Ross McBeth (both 7-74 grade) and Mavis Carte (80-84) led the local challenge.
Overseas visitors were once again part of the mix and it is hoped that those who came this year will bring back more next time. Toni Phillips and Christopher Worsnop and Dave Chisholm (Australia) stood out (Chisholm made it clear however, he is really a Kiwi).
The games provides a chance for our younger leading athletes making a big time commitment to the event by officiating for most if not all of the programme. Lexi Maples, Genna Maples, Sophie Andrews, Grace Godfrey, Charlotte Nixon, Tayla Brunger, Jordan Hume, Matt Kleinsmith, Jane Lennox, Andrew Dixon, Ruby and Sophie Redmayne were among this group. Other Collegiate student including many overseas students lead by Jula Schroder and Nonn gave significant help.
There is always great camaraderie among competitors with some like Francie Bayle and Jill Evans not only competing but helping as officials. It was also good to see Manawatu/Whanganui office holders out there competing. Officials co-ordinator and prominent executive member of the New Zealand Children's Executive Brien Curry (Palmerston North) topped the podium on many occasions as did centre chairman Robb Dabb (Feilding) in distance events (both 55 -59 grade).
Among the more colourful competitors were Peter Barnes who seemed to arrive with a different tandem bicycle each day; a machine that our younger helpers took much delight in riding. The oldest male Hector Klein from Tauranga, but originally Alloa Scotland was determined to compete in as many events as possible.
The damp weather arrived on Tuesday so a disappointing turnout for both the club events and also the final two Masters Events.
Robert Dabb won the 2000m Road Race in fine style with Jacqueline Howell was the first woman home from Whanganui's Sue Staples with John Gluckman continuing his busy schedule of events started at the weekend.
The 2x100 relays concluded the programme but disappointingly only two complete teams ran.
In the club programme Grace Godfrey with a personal best over a 100 metres impressed and travels north in good shape at the weekend for the Porritt Classic. Godfrey paired well with Jordan Hume in the 2x100 relay (a new combination) the race was won however by the Maples sisters (Lexi and Genna) with the Symes brothers (Harry and Tom) winning the male event. Brother and sister winning combinations being a first.
It was good to see Tom Symes back with his brother Harry running a good 400 metres. Fellow Collegiate old boys Tom Matthews and Luke Foster also ran in sprints and combined in relays.