The newly-laid all-weather track at the Athletics Whangārei’s Trigg Sports Arena, Kensington, base, is ready for competition, despite a rocky opening day
Cyclone Gabrielle put Whangārei’s new all-weather athletics track to the test on its opening day.
The Cyclone track and field event and opening ceremony for the recently-replaced track were held on February 12.
“It was just safe enough to hold it. There was a lot of debate,” said Oringa Barach, Athletics Whangārei committee member.
The track and long jump events were able to go ahead, but the majority of the field events were cancelled because of the weather.
The opening ceremony, which was attended by Whangārei Mayor Vince Cocurullo, also had to be moved indoors.
The old athletics track needed replacement as it .ad been over a decade since the track was first installed at Trigg Sports Arena at Kensington Park.
Barach said the existing track was almost beyond repair.
“You can repair them, but it was going to cost more to repair than it was to replace,” she said.
The long jump pits were upgraded. Artificial grass was also installed to provide an area for stretching and training regardless of the weather.
The upgrades cost around $1-millon and were funded by Northland Athletics and the Gymnastics Stadium Trust.
The weather disrupted the renewing of the track surface.
The replacement began on October 16, 2022. It was meant to be finished before Christmas, but the first track and field event of the season was only held on February 7.
Rain also affected the laying of the original track.
Patron of Athletics Whangārei, Ian Babe, describes how when the first track was installed there was a big downpour a few weeks later.
The rain caused the surface to bubble.
“Down the back straight there was actually a 10-metre by five-metre bubble. And the water had got underneath and had lifted [the track].”
Usually, the athletics season runs from the beginning of October through to the end of March.
Athletics Whangārei shortened their season to allow the new track surface to be replaced.
“Normally we have a huge junior [program], but they haven’t been able to use the track until recently,” said Barach.
Athletics Whangārei has 120 members who have access to the track.
The athletics track is able to be used by the community too.
Local schools, Special Olympics, Parafed Northland and Relay for Life Northland all make use of the track.
The athletics track was first opened in 2012 as part of Trigg Sports Arena. The stadium is home to Athletics Whangārei and Whangārei Academy of Gymnastics.