The cancellation of events under the present coronavirus crisis is felt more strongly by the young participants than by the older organisers.
I am writing this on a Wednesday morning when I should have been on my way down to Cooks Gardens to set up for the cancelled Whanganui Inter Schools Athletic Championships.
I can look forward with some sadness to less stressful days when I would normally be planning travel, accommodation for the cancelled North Island Schools Championships in Hamilton.
For the younger athletes who have been training hard, especially those in the final year at school, this represents an opportunity that will not be repeated.
For eight young Whanganui athletes coronavirus has ended their international dreams and in the case of all but three their international debuts.
The ISF World Schools Cross Country in Slovakia was cancelled 10 days ago.
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Whanganui had three in the 12-strong New Zealand representative team.
For Ashleigh Alabaster and Ana Brabyn this would have been their first trip and for their Collegiate team-mate George Lambert this would have been his second international.
The Australian Track and Field Junior Championships were cancelled on Friday just six days before Genna Maples, Lucas Martin and Maggie Jones were due to depart as members of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Team.
Travis Bayler was due to follow in the footsteps of a number other Whanganui athletes and take part in the popular and successful Development Tour to California in early April, while the postponement of the senior Australian Track and Field Championships means that Tayla Brunger and Emma Osborne will not be travelling with six others striving to qualify for the World Junior Championships later in the year both individually and as a 4 x 400 team.
Three of those eight ran at Cooks Gardens in perfect conditions on Saturday evening as part short meeting with just two events, the women's 400 metres and 800 metres held at 8.30pm as a replacement for the cancelled Sir Peter Snell Meeting.
If only the Australian Championships had been called off a couple of days earlier, more of the eight 400 metre athletes would almost certainly have come to Whanganui to compete.
Both the races on Saturday were outstanding with both quality and depth of performance.
In the 400 metres the first three across the line in the New Zealand under 20 Championships lined up in the middle lanes.
Genna Maples started inside the three running a hand timed 300 metres with two Whanganui athletes, Mackenzie Morgan and Josephine Perkins, in the outside lanes.
Maples did her job and ran a personal best 300 metres of 40.8, ensuring four runners entered the home straight together.
The race was won by Camryn Smart (Tasman) who a week earlier had finished third but was then disqualified for a line infringement.
Smart made no such error, verified by our line umpires, to win with a personal best 55.24 seconds.
Tayla Brunger was second equalling her personal best and Collegiate record of 55.38 with the previous week's national champion Isabel Neal in third in 56.03.
Brunger reinforced her consistency with her fourth run under 55.44 this season and with a further series of sub 56 second efforts.
The 800-metre race was outstanding.
Louis Northcott did a perfect job setting the pace running through 400 metres in 53 seconds.
What followed was truly classic race once again proving Cooks Gardens an outstanding venue for evening middle distance races.
Three runners were under 1 minute 51 seconds, the leading five were all under 1 minute 52 and our own Zach Bellamy proved to be the mover and shaker making the biggest improvement by setting a new personal best by more than four seconds to record 1:52.98 to go to number two on the Whanganui Collegiate all-time rankings.
The first two runners, Benjamin Wall and Mikael Starzynski (1:50.52 and 1:50.73), both were under the World Athletics qualifying standard for World Juniors but shy of the tougher Athletics New Zealand mark.
Rhys Bishop set a Taranaki record in third place (1:50.96), Liam Back in 4th set a big personal best (1:51.25). Local runner Travis Bayler ran under 1 minute 56 for the first time in 8th place (1:55.56)
The 800 metres was one of the best two-lap races in recent years.
This is the second time that Whanganui Schools have been cancelled in the 47- year history of the combined boys and girls Championships.
In the early 1990s torrential rain forced cancellation with only Jessica Ashbridge winning a title in the one completed event.
This year we had six winners from the pre-meet events last week.
Athletes hope to have a consolation hit-out in the remaining two Tuesday Club Nights, a model used with the previous cancellation.