Weekly News

In this week’s newsletter:

  • First Up

  • Remembering Roussos Alexopoulos

  • Mental Health Awareness Week

  • Champs Of The Road Champs

  • Sarah Bonoma, Gin Distiller Extraordinaire

  • The Stowaway Who Became A Running Star

  • Race Updates

  • Advice For Exercising Under Level 2

  • Helpers Needed For Children’s Athletics

  • Club Discounts

  • Upcoming Events 


First Up

Very sad news that longtime club member Roussos (Roo) Alexopoulos passed away last Friday at the age of 48, after a two-year battle with brain cancer. Many people have very fond memories of Roo. Even after moving to Sydney, Roo loved to return each year to run for the club at National Road Relays.

This week is mental health awareness week, and Vickie Humphries has written a nice piece about this. Running and exercise can be beneficial to mental health but there are many other aspects to it. The theme this year is “take time to kōrero.”

The latest update from the Wellington Marathon organisers is that they will wait until the government’s announcement on Monday before making a final call for the events scheduled on Oct. 10. In the event that Wellington moves to Level 1 by next Tuesday the events will go ahead, otherwise entries will be rolled over until next year’s race in June.

The Athletics Wellington Race Walking Championships is going ahead under Level 2 on Saturday in Upper Hutt. For more details, click here

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

Roo on one of his last runs last month


Remembering Roussos Alexopoulos

Many club members have fond memories of Roo, from the days he was a Graham Tattersall prodigy through to his dedication in returning for road relays each year. He is remembered as being the heart of the master’s team and great fun to be around.

Terry Fraser ran with Roo in a masters team that won the national road relays title in Rotorua.

“I first met him when the 2016 M40s NRR van picked him up from Newtown on the way to Rotorua. He promptly took the front seat, handed round a mountain of home made Greek food his mother had prepared, put on his Spotify soundtrack then announced he had not come all this way to come second (by this time I’m feeling right out of place, clearly aware he has not been briefed on my 10k times),” Terry recalls.

“Arriving at Rotorua, I find myself rooming with him. He gets out his immaculately prepared kit, breakfast and hydration and advises me lights out at 9 p.m. (he’s running first leg) The rest is history, gold medal, first place and he may well have not got back to the hotel by 9 a.m.”


Mental Health Awareness Week

From Vickie Humphries

As athletes we have the “be active” strand of the “Five Ways to Wellbeing” pretty sorted. The other four are: taking notice of the simple things that bring joy; keeping learning; giving of time, words, presence; and connecting with people.

Take time to kōrero – a little chat goes a long way, is this year’s theme for mental health awareness week; a theme chosen to highlight the importance of keeping connected, taking time to talk and to listen with others. Solid connections ensure we have people around us who we can count on when times are tough. As members of WHAC we have each other; if you are ever doing it tough, do reach out to a fellow member. Further information about the five ways to wellbeing can be found here


Champs Of The Road Champs

Athletics Wellington has a story here about Wellington Road Champs Senior Men’s winner Will Anthony, who ran an impressive debut time of 30 mins 51 seconds while still eligible to run as a junior. The story also mentions Sarah Drought’s win in the Senior Women’s race, noting she was national road champ in 2012 and 2019.


Sarah Bonoma, Gin Distiller Extraordinaire

There’s another story about club member Sarah Bonoma, gin-distiller extraordinaire. Please note the photo with the baton she was given by her team when they won national road relays in 2018.

You can read the Stuff story here: Sarah and Ben Bonoma, the couple behind Golden Bay’s renowned Dancing Sands gin distillery, have swapped lives in cities with millions of inhabitants for a life in provincial New Zealand, and they finally feel at home.


The Stowaway Who Became A Running Star

As midnight approached on 31 December 2006, most of Spain was preparing to celebrate the new year. Zaid Ait Malek spent the night evading police.

An interesting BBC Sport story here

Race Updates

  • The New Zealand Road Race Champs in Hamilton, postponed until Nov. 7, will only go ahead under Level 1.
  • The New Zealand Secondary Schools Track & Field Champs in Inglewood have been rescheduled to Dec. 16-18.


Advice For Exercising Under Level 2

From the New Zealand Government

At Alert Level 2, you can do your usual sport and recreation activities if you can do them safely.

  • Public parks and playgrounds are open.
  • Indoor sports facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and health clubs can open, but with extra safety measures.
  • Team sports events can continue, but are limited to 50 people at indoor venues and 100 people at outdoor venues.
  • Professional leagues can go ahead at Alert Level 2 because they take place in controlled workplaces.


Helpers Needed For Children’s Athletics

The Wellington Harrier children’s athletics programme will resume on Saturday mornings in October at Newtown Park. We would love to hear from enthusiastic parents or grandparents to assist with this exciting programme.

You do not have to be an expert. There are coaching sessions coming up that will enrich you with the required skills you need to assist our young athletes. We are especially looking for people who have an interest in high jump/hurdles or sprints. If you’re interested in being involved, please contact:

Julie Richards, Children’s Manager

juliemaerdy@yahoo.co.uk 021-295-9026


Club Discounts

Dancing Sands: WHAC members receive 20% off everything on the Dancing Sand’s website: dancingsands.com Just enter ‘whac20’ in the coupon field when checking out.

Bodyfix Physio: WHAC members receive $10 off per session. Book your appointment online here


Upcoming Events 

Note that some events will only go ahead if we are in Alert Level 1.



9th              Club runs/walks, clubrooms

10th            Wellington Marathon, half, 10k & 5k  (inc Wellington Half Marathon Champs), Skysport Stadium

16th            Bernie Potenski Memorial Handicap, Titahi Bay

17th            Honest 10K, Whale Tail near Freyberg Pool

23rd            Harrier section annual meeting & prizegiving followed by afternoon tea (bring a plate), clubrooms



7th              Masterton Marathon, Half, 10k, 5k (Inc Wellington Marathon Champs) Masterton

7th             The New Zealand Road Race Champs, Hamilton

21st            Honest 10k Freyberg


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: John Barrance, Melissa Black, Gordon Clarke, Esther George, Paul Hewitson, Vickie Humphries, Jean Kozyniak, Bertram Manz, Julie Richards, Nathan Tse, Jack Waterworth, Georgina Wedge, Frank Evett, Louis Hogan and Todd Krieble.