The cry has gone out for Wanganui to people to put their hands up for a major event at two well-known venues in the city in early December.

On December 6 and 7 Wanganui will host the New Zealand secondary schools track and field and road race championships, an event that will require a large squad of volunteers.

The December event will be the third time Wanganui has hosted the games that traditionally attracts more than 1500 athletes and a huge number of support crews,

Wanganui and national athletics guru Alec McNab said volunteers were thin on the ground at the moment and many more were needed to make the event an enjoyable and successful experience for visitors and townsfolk alike.


"In the past we have had a good number of core volunteers in Wanganui, but for various reasons many have moved on and we are in need of rebuilding that base starting with the December event," Mr McNab said.

The event is run under the auspices of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics Association (NSSAA) although it is tradition that the host city provide the hands-on volunteers.

"This is the largest schools event in the country in terms of school numbers competing with at least 190 schools sending teams. It's probably only second to the Maadi Cup (rowing) in terms of individual athlete numbers."

The main track and field competition will be held at Cooks Gardens, while the road race will be run at Kowhai Park.

"I'm pleased that we are using these two iconic venues that will go a long way to showcasing Wanganui to the rest of the nation. However, to make this a successful tournament and one that all can enjoy, we need volunteers.

"We have set up a registry at Sport Wanganui and are urging people to contact the organisation even if they don't think they qualify. We will offer coaching for those keen on helping run the various disciplines, including the road race. But there are many other tasks that need to be done that don't require an in-depth knowledge or special skills.

"The key thing is for people to register and we will get back to them and then assess how best they can help. December is not far away, really."

Mr McNab said an All Blacks rugby test the match is played for 80 minutes using four officials - the referee, two assistants on the sidelines and a TMO (Television Match Official).


"We need that many alone for the long jump and possibly eight other track and field disciplines and then there's the road race.

"There is a real feel good element to volunteering knowing you have been part of an event that has been both successful and an enjoyable experience for all.

"The December event will bring a lot of visitors to the city and that will benefit us all - to be part of that is a great thing."