Athletics guru Alec McNab had to dig into the kitty for incentive awards quite a bit at the 2020 Cooks Classic tonight, although some stadium records remained elusive for the talented group of young athletes taking part.
McNab was initially not going to hand out cash prizes for those who broke any junior Cooks Gardens records at the first major North Island athletics event of the decade, but opted to open up the opportunity with money from the Junior Olympic fund.
The envelopes with $250 were soon being delivered as North Harbour Bays Athletics' sprint sensation Edward Osei-Nketia comfortably won his Home Trust Mortgages 100m Men's race in 10.62s.
With a slight tail wind and mild conditions, the 18-year-old Osei-Nketia claimed a Cooks junior record, but still trails his father Gus Nketia – who had set the overall senior record of 10.49s almost 20 years ago to the day.
"I'll come back next year, just to get that record," Osei-Nketia said.
"Everything went pretty much according to plan."
The sprinter had to settle for a second-placing in the Phillips Electrical 2x100m Relay when the Mana Amateur Athletics Club pipped his Team Keddell right on the finishline.
However, Osei-Nketia and his Sports Heritage Team were dominant winners of the main event of the evening – the Loaders One Mile Medley Relay.
The goal for the evening - to surpass the 1919 world record set by the NZ Army Team in England (3m 30.6s), remained elusive, as Sports Heritage completed their circuit in 3m 33.48s.
Kiwi Athletic Club were second, while one of the Whanganui High School teams can be justly proud that they also broke the 4 minute mile, finishing in 3m 43.51s.
Athletics: Full programme and events for 2020 Cooks Classic
Vote for Adesanya or the Gowler sisters for New Zealand's Sporting Moment of 2019
Vintage weekend fitting way to end Cooks Gardens Classic
The highest quality race of the evening was unquestionably the Steelform Roofing Group 3000m Under 20 Men's race.
In a strong field contesting the New Zealand championship, Olympic Harriers Wellington's Will Anthony settled at the front of a leading group of five that included Liam Back and Andres Hernandez, Whanganui Collegiate stars now running under the Athletics Wanganui banner.
Those same five runners continued to work ahead of the rest of the field as a group, setting a tremendous pace for over four laps, with Back holding a comfortable second place, Hernandez fourth.
But binding his time was Wairarapa Track & Field's Liam Lamb, who before the bell for the final lap had moved up from fifth to third and was hovering on Back's outside shoulder.
Lamb pulled out to swiftly take second place and then overtook Anthony going down the back stretch for the final time, with the Wellingtonian not giving up the fight as the pair pulled away from the others, with Back maintaining third by himself.
But Anthony's push back was not enough as Lamb pulled further clear over the final 100m to cross the line in 8m 24.79s, followed nearly 2s later by Anthony while Back held on to make the podium ahead of Hernandez.
Not only did the time smash the 40-year-old stadium record of 8m 32.6s, but the leading three all went under the old mark, while every runner in the Top 7 finished with a personal best, as did others in the 18-man field.
The Velo Ronny's Bicycle Store 3000m U20 Women's race wasn't quite as competitive, and therefore was safe, as Lower Hutt Amateur Athletic club's Phoebe Mcknight dominated from start to finish, winning in 9m 46.02s.
Whanganui's NZ Schools Race walker Lucas Martin wore quite the smile as he picked up a unique victory in the Unichem Whanganui Pharmacy 2000m 'Dash for Cash'.
The mixed five lap middle distance running race offered cash incentives for leading at the 500m and 1000m mark, while Martin was attempting to win by completing a 1200m walking race, which was one less lap.
And he would do so as the leading running group of Wellington Scottish Athletics Club's Niam Macdonald (6m 2.11s), Victoria University Athletic Club's Kieron Sexton, and Athletics Nelson's Angus Wemyss would all be rounding the home straight as Lucas crossed the finishline in 5m 14.42s.
Athletics Wanganui's Travis Bayler went all out for that first cash prize for leading after 500m and would achieve it before pulling off later on.
The evening opened with the Eyes on Victoria Men's High Jump, and Christchurch Old Boys United's Hamish Kerr was chasing his own stadium record of 2.22m.
Leaping into the slight breeze, Kerr patiently waited while some of the other five jumpers would bow out at the lower bar heights, with his club mate Marcus Wolton and Invercargill's Quinn Hartley the only others remaining at 2.08m.
Getting the crowd to clap for him, Wolton managed to clear 2.08m on his third and final attempt, with Hartley unable to match it but nonetheless picking up some cash for a new stadium junior record at 2.04m.
Kerr then comfortably cleared 2.12m on his first attempt, which Wolton would not match with his three tries, leaving the current joint NZ record holder to decide where he wanted the bar to go.
Kerr would opted for 2.18m, and after missing it on his first attempt, decided to just go for it all by passing and having one go at the stadium record 2.23m.
Another miss and that was enough for Kerr to call it a day and accept his victory.
McNab will have further details on the Cooks Classic in coming editions of the Whanganui Chronicle.