Whanganui Weather Comes to the Party for Colgate Games’ Final Day

The athletes didn’t let a bit of wet weather stop them over the weekend. Photo / Bevan Conley

The rain eased off in Whanganui on Sunday, bringing relief to athletes taking part in the Colgate Games at Cooks Gardens.

Clubs from across the North Island spent the weekend in the city.

The event rotates around New Zealand centers each year and was last held in Whanganui in 2009.

Zoe Hobbs, Commonwealth Games 100m finalist and New Zealand women’s 100m record holder, was on the track on Sunday.

Originally from Taranaki, she said she has competed in Whanganui several times over the years.

“I did the Colgates here when I was 11, a couple central meets and a couple Cooks Classics as well.”

The Colgate Games gave athletes a taste of different events, she said.

“You don’t specialize in any particular thing. You do anything and everything.

“When I was [aged] seven to nine, I did 60 meters, 100 meters, 200 meters and the long jump.

“Back then you could only do four events, but it looks like you can do five now. It gives you an extra chance to try something else.

Zoe Hobbs participated in the Colgate Games in Whanganui when she was 11 years old.  Photo/Mike Tweed
Zoe Hobbs participated in the Colgate Games in Whanganui when she was 11 years old. Photo/Mike Tweed

Briar Day of Pakuranga Athletics Club said the rain had not deterred his athletes.

“They train in all weathers, so they have to race in all weathers.

“It’s the first time we’ve come here. It really is a pretty little town. »

Many businesses had been closed when visitors went to take a look, and it appeared they were unaware of the influx of thousands of people over the weekend, Day said.

According to the athletes, the Cooks Gardens track had been amazing to run.

“It’s a great opportunity to come to Whanganui, and I would definitely come back,” Day said.

There were over 1,000 registered competitors aged seven to 14 for this year’s event.

On the track, the events ranged from 60m to 1500m, with relays also very popular.

Field events included the long jump, high jump, shot put and discus throw.

Hobbs said it was about gaining experience, and it didn’t matter that you weren’t the first.

“That doesn’t mean you won’t be a successful athlete.”

The Normanby Amateur Athletics Club brought a team of 30 to Whanganui.

Manager Karen Brooks said weather aside, the trip was a success.

“It’s a great locality. You are near the triage tent and you are near where you see the results. We also have a corporate lodge.

The team stayed at Whanganui Collegiate School for the weekend.

“It was originally supposed to be in Palmerston North so we booked the perfect motel there. Then in June it was changed to Whanganui and everyone was scrambling to find accommodation.

The men's 400 meter events were held on a dry track on Sunday.  Photo/Mike Tweed
The men’s 400 meter events were held on a dry track on Sunday. Photo/Mike Tweed

“The university has been brilliant. There are five teams, plus the officials, staying there.

Glenn Miscall of the Mana Amateur Athletic Club said it was his first time in Whanganui for a run.

“You can’t choose the weather – it’s just one of those things. We’re used to it back home, anyway.

“We stay with family, and some of us have a nice Airbnb at the top of the [Whanganui] river.

“This place is great. There are two grandstands and banks for viewing. I think it’s probably better than Palmerston [North]where it was going to be.

The club brought 17 athletes to town.

“We did pretty well for a small club. We got gold in the mixed medley [14 years old]and we’re thrilled about that,” Miscall said.

“If there is thunder and lightning, events may be delayed, but you can race in the rain, no problem.”

Hobbs said she started competing when she was five years old.

“Back then it was all about running relays and jumping through hoops. It was literally just fun.

“The cool thing about athletics is that there are clubs everywhere. It’s an easy sport to get into at an early age.

As for 2023, she planned to have more than one international season, and that meant a very long year.

“We have the world championships in August. That’s the goal, and it should capture the Paris Olympic qualifying window.

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