An apology, appreciation and a confirmation are at the heart of this week's article.
The apology goes to New Zealand co-High Jump record holder Hamish Kerr who I named as Hamish Gill last week. I know Kerr well as he spent a year at Massey University and competed and won a New Zealand medal for the MWA Team at the National Championships for the team I managed.
Kerr was also the Cooks Gardens Stadium Record holder with his 2 .22 metre jump at the Cooks Classic in 2019.
Last weekend Kerr added a further 5cm to that record with an outstanding 2.27m jump as the sun went below the gate and threw the high jump into cool shade.
The appreciation is for the huge number of volunteers, leading officials and helpers who made the Cooks Classic possible.
I left a list of 85 people with the gatekeepers and added to this was a further group of 10 Whanganui High School athletes who gave invaluable help as hurdle stewards for the quick and efficient setting up and removal of the hurdles for the opening 400m hurdles.
All hurdles were off the track in minutes to allow the 3000m under-20 women's championship to start right on schedule. A further team under Jodie Brunger organised and ran the highly successful "Fastest kid on the Block".
The big team of helpers included young Whanganui Collegiate athletes who retrieved implements, operated indicator boards and moved equipment.
Many were back the next day for the Community Peter Snell Mile Challenge organising, recording and handing out participation medals with all of them also running. The help did not end there but continued the following Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at the Masters Games Athletics.
The adult officials were helped by athletes from both the Whanganui Collegiate and Whanganui High school athletic training groups and gave great service and many hours on the sunny weekend.
I offer a big thank you to all who made all three events successful, without their help these events would not happen and as I have said before track and field by its nature is a labour-intensive sport to organise.
Hamish Kerr's stadium record was one of four broken at the Pak'nSave Cooks Classic costing meet organisers $1000 in bonus payments. Thankfully, payment was not for each occasion a record was broken. Lauren was beyond Bronwyn Eagles' (Australia) mark on five occasions with her second round throw of 71.34m going into the record books.
In the outstanding world class shot event, Tom Walsh was beyond the old mark four times and Jacko Gill three times with Gill's 21.11 metre the new Cooks Gardens record.
Portia Bing set a new 400m hurdle record by slicing Zoe Ballantynes record by over 4 seconds, stopping the clock in 56.62 which was only just outside the New Zealand resident record.
Lisa Adams was only 1cm outside her own Para World Record with a magnificent put of 15.49m. Edie Osei Nketia was just 5 one-hundredths outside his father's 100m record and also came close to Mathew Coad's 200m record. The other athletes to come close were Tori Peeters who was less than 2m shy of Kirsten Smith's long-established women's javelin mark and Camille Buscomb, who was 1.5 seconds off Whanganui Olympian Lucy Oliver's (nee van Dalen) mark in the mile.
The confirmation came not only that an athletic meeting needs a big team of volunteers but also that it is a sport for all ages. At the Cooks Classic we were able to witness national and international performances and were also able to see the immediate next generation perform in the 3000m championships in two excellent, competitive races.
We were also able to watch our local youngsters perform in the popular and colourful Baileys sponsored "Fastest Kid on the Block" mid-programme. The following day people of all ages and ability accepted the Pak'nSave Sir Peter Snell Mile Challenge and hundreds walked or ran around the iconic Cooks Gardens track.
Among those who completed the mile on Sunday was octogenarian Alex Shaw who had a direct link to miles at Cooks Gardens including the inspiration for the Mile Challenge.
Shaw was in the field in that first sub 4- minute mile when Sir Peter Snell set the World Record. Shaw finishing sixth on that memorable January evening.
A week after the Snell Mile it was the turn of the Masters with many of the younger athletes supporting as helpers and officials. It was a welcome back to many old friends and once again you could not fail to be impressed with the competitive spirit and athleticism of our Masters.
Athletics is a sport for all ages.