There is no doubt that Athletics is in the early stages of another golden era.
The Australian Nationals have just finished and media coverage (especially by the ABC) has been positive and reflects the high degree of athleticism and performances that have occurred in modern day athletics. We are on the verge of having more household names as champions. Watch this space!
The successes with Athletics NSW go back a couple of months to the groundwork that was done at events like the Country Championships, Illawarra and Hunter Track Classic, New South Wales Juniors and of course The New South Wales Open Championships. We are seeing an increase in participation numbers as well as memorable performances at all levels of our sport.
Only last week we had the successful launch of RunWest which saw approximately 7 1/2 thousand participants participate in the largest inaugural fun run in Australia’s history. The media coverage of this event by Channel 7 and the Daily Telegraph was exceptional. RunWest is a joint initiative of both Athletics Australia and Athletics New South Wales. Athletics NSW initiated and owned The City to Surf (now Australia’s largest fun run) and it was sold off after only 3 years. That will not happen to RunWest and my vision is that it will one day be as big and iconic as the City to Surf.
Coming into the winter months Run NSW has already conducted successful events and is getting an incredible amount of interest with future events as well. Already we have seen entries for The Sydney 10 increase by almost double on the same time last year.
This weekend of course we will see the St George Classic (Cross Country Novice) in its traditional role as a start to the cross-country season.
But it doesn’t stop there; Athletics New South Wales will, for the first time, be managing and implementing the athletics component of the University Games which will be held at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre from Thursday to Sunday this week. UniSports have grand plans for the future of these games, and we hope that ANSW will continue to be a part of those plans going forward.
I would also like to welcome our new chief executive officer, Kirin Lindop, who started in her role yesterday. She has a great athletics pedigree and professionally has worked in government and other sports. I am 100% confident that she will help to lead our sport into our next halcyon period. She has my complete personal support and the absolute support of the board of directors.
I have had the privilege of being the interim CEO over the past few months. It has given me an insight into our sport that few people see, and I have learnt a great deal. One of the things I’ve learnt is that we have a dedicated and talented team of staff with every one of them giving over and above what is required for the betterment of athletics.
If I don’t see you on track, field, cross country, or a road race over the next few weeks then I look forward to seeing you at the 2019 Athletics New South Wales Annual Dinner where we will celebrate those people who are awarded for their achievements in all endeavours. The night will be fun with a few pleasant surprises and is guaranteed to have many memorable lifelong moments.
Our sport is growing and moving forward. I hope you can join me in this exciting journey.
Yours in athletics,
Dr Peter Higgins