Covid-19 levels 4 and 3 challenged sportsmen and women in terms of personal training, demanding creativity and adaptability.

Level 2 places demands on all sports in terms of group training and competition demanding similar creativity and adaptability.

In an earlier article I highlighted the creativity in personal training under lockdown and noted how different circumstances and location led to different and creative approaches.

It has been good to catch up with many over the past two days and I was pleasantly surprised at the state of fitness of many after such a long break from formal group training.


Some managed a proper transition from summer to winter sport with a break before starting their lockdown activity and have laid a sound aerobic base. This could benefit all sporting codes as the delay to the start of competition will allow a longer preparation phase than usual.

Not unexpectedly there is considerable uncertainty in all areas of society about the future, short-term and longer term. Sport is no exception.

In the short term, the burning question is when can we start and how can we start in a safe way that can follow sound health guidelines? Over the past few days, I, like many involved in any way in sports administration, have been on lengthy video conference looking at possible scenarios.

In my case, it's about the placement of major athletics and cross country events scheduled this year.

As with all sports we wait with interest for some further government guidelines due to be announced next Monday.

In the meantime, there has been creativity shown by many sports. As reported in the Chronicle the Whanganui Harrier Club has initiated a series of challenges allowing athletes over five days to complete a run over a set course and submit times. All such runs are completed under Covid level restrictions.

Last week, 59 athletes competed. I was pleased to see that Christian Conder, back from Florida, is using his enforced time at home well and it's also pleasing to see some of my potential team members are back in action.

Scottish Harriers from Wellington have a similar published set of courses and Athletics New Zealand has set a 5000m challenge.


George Lambert, captain of the Collegiate crosscountry team this year, did his 5000m in Hunterville. His time of under 16 minutes on the grass was solid if not spectacular and provided encouragement at this stage of his training.

He certainly looked in good shape on Monday on his first day back when he, Mackenzie Morgan, Daniel Sinclair and Mikaere Petley especially looked to have used their time in level 3 and 4 well.

Sport has received important rescue money in the budget and await further clarification on how it is to be used. This funding is in addition to the short-term relief measures and it has been indicated this will include support for community organisations and high-performance and elite athletes.

It will be interesting to learn more of the direction, focus and target of such support.

I read with interest the article in last Friday's Dominion Post under the headline Sports mergers 'inevitable'.

The main thrust of the article was that because of the financial fallout from Covid-19 pandemic sporting bodies will be forced to overhaul national and regional structures.

Many see a degree of downsizing inevitable. The crisis is driving a radical rethink of how sport is organised throughout the country. This could well lead to mergers as survival becomes a key factor.

Peter Miskimmin, Sport New Zealand chief executive, indicated that talks are under way between national sports organisations (NSOs) and stated that "every organisation in sport is going to operate differently than they have been. Clearly there will need to be different ways of driving efficiency and providing content and opportunities. They're all seeing that, and they've already started the process."

What appears a threat can often become an opportunity.

I have long believed that the merger of Whanganui Harriers and Athletics Whanganui would benefit both clubs. Twice over the past 40 years there have been talks and considerable progress on the concept without result.

The merger of the two branches of the sport was successful in Palmerston North and could be successfully replicated here. I look back to the New Zealand Schools Track and Field Championships and Road Race in 2014.

This became a successful team effort and I have happy memories working with Robert Conder and his harrier team who organised one of the great schools road races alongside a memorable track and field championships.

It was a pressure time for both clubs and together we ran a memorable championships.

The pooling of volunteers and expertise makes huge sense especially in these different and difficult times.