Weekly News

In this week’s newsletter:

  • First Up

  • Virtual Winners

  • Harrier Season Starting Soon

  • WHAC Interclub Races

  • 2020 Race Timetable

  • Running Speaker Wanted

  • Changes To Track And Field Programme

  • Track Food Donations


First Up

With the success New Zealand has experienced in eliminating the coronavirus, the club is planning to start the harrier season soon. Please see below for a list of upcoming race dates, including the brand new Needle Relay next month. It’s exciting to think that we will be able to train and race together again.

A big congratulations to Yaya Jama, Maiya Christini, Sarah Drought and Isaac Murphy, who beat 32 other senior teams from around the country to win the Virtual Ekiden Relay. Their total combined time for the marathon distance was 2 hours and 20 minutes.

For future newsletter items or suggestions, please email Nick Perry: nickgbperry@gmail.com


JOHN NICHOLSON/STUFF Wellington’s Zephyrometer aka the Wind Needle 

Virtual Winners

Runners in the Virtual Ekiden Relay individually raced their distances during the month of May and then uploaded their results to Athletics New Zealand. Each team was made up of two men and two women, and three runners ran 10K while the fourth runner ran 12.2K to make up the full marathon distance.

Running as the “WHAC Blue Kenyans” the senior team ran a total time of 2:20 to beat Hill City University Athletic Club (2:22), Perimeter Coaching (2:26), and Wellington Scottish Senior A (2:28).

Yaya Jama ran 10K in 31 minutes;  Maiya Christini ran 10K in 36 minutes; Sarah Drought ran 10K in 36 minutes; and Isaac Murphy ran 12.2K in 37 minutes.


Harrier Season Starting Soon

From John Barrance

The arrival of Covid-19 has meant that no formal harrier club activities were possible for the March-May period. Based on New Zealand’s success in overcoming the coronavirus, we believe that the return to club life, then interclub and national racing, will soon become possible. Further easing of restrictions and a move to Alert Level 1 will help to speed up this process.

We look forward to the government announcement on 8th June. Following that, we will publish a draft Winter Calendar. This will include all our club races and events, as well as interclub races and national championship dates.

WHAC is hosting all our traditional club events. This gives members the opportunity to race and to train, at a time when many regional and national running races have been postponed or cancelled.

The harrier season will extend further into spring, with club events throughout October. The October extension is for Seniors and Masters only. In parallel with this, the WHAC Children’s Athletics programme will start at the beginning of October. Senior Track & Field is also scheduled to start in October.


WHAC Interclub Races

From John Barrance

WHAC has been organizing interclub races since 1923. We wish to update members on what’s happening to these WHAC interclubs for 2020.

Vosseler Shield

WHAC inaugurated the Vosseler Shield in 1923. It is named after one of the club’s founders, Mr F W (Fred) Vosseler. It has been competed for every year since 1923, apart from 1942 during WWII. 2019 was its 96th edition. The 2020 Vosseler Shield races are cancelled because of the reduced months available to accommodate all AW interclub racing, due to Covid-19. We look forward to the Vosseler’s 97th edition in 2021.

Bays Relay

WHAC started the Bays Relay in 1968. It was created by life member Mike Dickson. It has been held every year since. The 2019 relay was the 52nd running from Island Bay to Evans Bay. Following last year’s event, the board assessed the viability of continuing the Bays Relay. In March this year, the board decided that the Bays must cease. That decision was taken prior to Covid-19. The main reasons are safety and traffic management. Increasing traffic using narrow roads, concern for athletes running on these busy roads, more than 50 marshals required to ensure safety, and escalating costs of contracting traffic management. The announcement of the Bays replacement follows.

Needle Relay

Life member Gabby O’Rourke has created a brand new relay. It is to be run entirely on footpaths, thus increasing runner and marshal safety, whilst eliminating traffic management costs. It will also reduce emissions because it is based around a central hub, so cars will not be ferrying runners. The new relay is named the Needle Relay because the central hub is the Wind Needle on the corner of Cobham Drive and Evans Bay Parade. This exciting new relay is part of the AW 2020 interclub programme. More details about the Needle Relay to come later.

Other Races

Because of Covid-19, three of the traditional winter interclub races have been cancelled for 2020. As mentioned above, the Vosseler Shield cannot be held this year. Also cancelled are the Shaw Baton Relays and the Dorne Cup. It is hoped that all the other AW interclubs, including the new Needle Relay, can take place. We expect to confirm interclub dates for the AW 2020 programme next week. Here’s a preview of the planned interclubs and national cross country, road, and road relay champs.


2020 Race Timetable

July 25                     Needle Relay

Aug. 8                      Victoria University Relay

Aug. 16 (Sun)         Wellington Cross Country Champs

Aug. 29                    New Zealand Cross Country Champs

Aug. 30 (Sun)         Wellington Marathon, Half and 10km – incl. Wellington Half Marathon Champs

Sept. 19                   Wellington Road Champs

Oct. 3                       New Zealand Road Relay Champs

Oct. 11 (Sun)           Masterton Marathon – incl Wellington Marathon Champs

Nov. TBC                 New Zealand Road Champs


Running Speaker Wanted

Ever wanted to describe the joy and despair you felt during that epic 100-mile run? Or talk about how running has influenced your physical or mental health or wellbeing? Well, now’s your chance! Caroline Fyfe organises the Friday lunchtime public health seminar series at Wellington medical school, and is hoping somebody might like to come along and talk about some aspect of running. She says it needs to be based loosely on health, but doesn’t need to have any academic research (although that would be a bonus).

If you’re interested, please contact Caroline at fyfesinnz@hotmail.com


Changes To Track And Field Programme

The Athletics Wellington Board is seeking input into possible changes to the Senior Track and Field programme.

They are considering three options: no programme led by the centre but support for meets like the Agency 10,000m that are organised by others; a much-reduced programme led by the centre; or a similar programme to last year but with the need for a significant number of people to help out.

For more information, click here


Track Food Donations

From Steve Plowman

When we resume our Saturday training sessions at Newtown Park, we’re going to have a box available for food item donations to go to the Wellington City Mission foodbank, which is just down the road from the track.

If any WHAC runners doing sessions on Saturday morning would like to put something in the box that would be greatly appreciated. It’s entirely voluntary.

I see this as a chance for us runners to use our running sessions not only for ourselves but for the well-being of others by effectively “paying it forward” for the benefit of our community.

If people think they can help then this list might be a good reference point, as it contains food items the foodbank regularly is running low on:

  • Breakfast spreads
  • Muesli and Weetbix
  • Milk powder and sugar
  • Tinned soup
  • 2-minute noodles
  • Tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce
  • Pasta
  • Tinned fish/meat/vegetables
  • Biscuits
  • Muesli bars
  • Up & Go breakfast drinks
  • Laundry powder
  • Bodywash
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Baby wipes


WHAC Board Information

If you have ideas for the club or any questions, please contact a board member or the secretary, Melissa Black (secretary@whac.org.nz). Your board members are: Peter Rendall, Terry Fraser, John Barrance, Bertram Manz, Nathan Tse, Paul Hewitson, Julie Richards, Gordon Clarke, Melissa Black, Alex Jones, Georgina Wedge, Esther George, Willie Gunn, Miranda Spencer and Jack Waterworth.