Alexandra’s Molyneux Park was packed with the finest young athletes from across the region last Saturday, when the Alexandra Athletics Club held their second-ever country day.
About 175 athletes aged from 6 to 14 from across Central Otago and beyond, including Dunedin, Taieri and Wānaka, took part in the meet.
About 30 volunteers were on hand to ensure the event ran smoothly.
Alexandra Athletics Club president Norman Marsh said it was a great day of sport.
‘‘We’ve got a lovely setting here. The park is well maintained,’’ he said.
‘‘The city folk do enjoy coming up here because [Molyneux Park] is a grass track and they’re only used to running on artificial grass.’’
Athletes took part in a selection of 10 track and field events, as well as a relay to finish the day.
The event was a good opportunity for local volunteers to experience running an event of this scale, Mr Marsh said.
‘‘It’s a great event for everybody concerned.’’
Often, Central Otago competitors would have to travel to Dunedin to take part in a meet.
Holding an event locally saved on travel and costs for them, Mr Marsh said.
‘‘It’s really good to have competition to come up from Dunedin.’’
Young athletes could be competing with their peers for years to come, and events like the country day were a great way to foster connections between them, Mr Marsh said.
Children from both the competitive side and the social side of the clubs took part.
For those who took part socially, it gave them a taste of what it feels like to compete, he said.
‘‘This gives them a really good idea of if they really enjoy it and if they want to compete and be a competitive athlete.’’
There was no knowing where or how far the children could take their athletics, he said.
Mr Marsh gave the example of Ranfurly-born Commonwealth high jump gold medallist Tania Murray, who trained at the Alexandra Athletics Club.
‘‘You start here, you never know where you’re going to finish-up.’’