Blossom, leaves appearing on trees and the odd warm sunny day are reminders that summer is approaching.

For athletes, coaches and officials there are other reminders and the new season is on the way. Reminders include meetings and AGMs all focusing on the forthcoming season.

There has been an increase of activity at the track with athletes realising that an exciting season is about to start. Last week a group of athletes from Hawera were training and undergoing testing at Cooks Gardens

This article has been submitted from Tauranga where I am with 24 young Whanganui athletes at our annual pre-season training camp. We have returned to Tauranga after spending the last four years at Hastings.

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Tauranga has a good track, only 500m from our accommodation, beaches, track and hills to run and a good lecture room and good sports science support lectures in the evening. Later this afternoon and over the next few days we will be sharing further sessions with former New Zealand director of coaching and national coach Kerry Hill.

Hill came to Whanganui to conduct relay sessions in March and happily offered his coaching help at his home Tauranga track. The group are lucky to have such an opportunity.

It is certainly a pleasure to work with a group that has six of the recent Collegiate NZ Schools international athletes attending, with only Emma Osborne (nursing an injury) not at camp.

The school-age athletes in Tauranga, others back in Whanganui and other groups throughout the country have less than eight weeks until the New Zealand Championships in Dunedin. A further four athletes, featured last week, will be at the Australian Championships in Cairns a week later.

Club nights start next Tuesday for secondary schools and senior athletes at Cooks Gardens when we share Cooks Gardens with the Whanganui rugby team preparing for their defence of the Heartland title.

The Children's Club starts on Monday, October 29 with the younger age groups at 4.15pm and intermediate school age at 6pm. Between the two, Whanganui Athletics has its AGM in the conference centre at Cooks Gardens at 7.30pm on Thursday.

Cooks Gardens will again be heavily utilised throughout the summer with weekly club nights on Tuesdays for seniors and children on Mondays. November sees action from primary and intermediate schools.

January has the annual Cooks Classic on January 15. February sees the return of the Masters Games followed by local Secondary Schools Championships culminating in Whanganui Secondary Schools Championships on March 13.

The Whanganui Schools will be preceded by the Sir Peter Snell Meeting that will bring a world-class mile field and outstanding supporting events. Exciting times for the famous Cooks Gardens and the Whanganui public.

Local athletes, as mentioned above, start next Tuesday and only have two club nights before the opening Regional League Meet in Hasting on Saturday, October 27 in Hastings.
This is followed a week later in Palmerston North and the series ends with the Wellington meeting at Newtown Park on November 17, a vital event for school athletes as the New Zealand Schools Championships is a fortnight later in Dunedin.

Tayla Brunger and Emma Osborne will miss the Hastings Regional Meet as they will be attending a 400m national sprint camp, in their case with the 2020 World Junior Championships as a target for a potentially strong 4x400m relay group.

An exciting and busy summer lies ahead of us and once again Cooks Gardens lies at the centre of the sport in the city.