Last weekend I spent the weekend at Mt Smart stadium for the New Zealand Track and Field Champs where I did some on-field commentary with my friend Sarah Cowley. We had a fun time in our high-vis vests with the mic on the infield, mostly being told off by the officials for all kinds of "infringements"! The highlight of the meet for me was being awarded a plaque and beautiful bunch of flowers from Athletics New Zealand in recognition of my contribution to athletics over my career. I was blown away as it was pretty special to be presented with this by Annette Purvis, chair of Athletics NZ, and Mayor of Auckland Len Brown in front of everyone at the Champs. It is something Athletics NZ is looking to do on a more regular basis - to recognise athletes (who have represented New Zealand at major champs) retiring from the sport.
The reason I got a behind the scenes tour at Sky was because I went there for a meeting to prepare for doing commentary for the Queen Street Mile, which was held on Monday. I was commentating with John McBeth and Steve Ovett (Gold medallist 800m 1980 Olympics). It was rather nerve wracking for a former heptathlete to be trying to say something semi-intelligent about middle distance running on live TV in such esteemed company! The only major slip up was kicking the plug which was connected to our monitors so there was mild panic while we were flying blind for a few minutes commentating on a black screen before I figured out what I had done, woops!
The event was organised by the great John Walker to raise money for his foundation that helps disadvantaged kids and aimed to re-introduce the mile on Queen St after its success back in the 70s and 80s. Its a great concept, and its the third time this summer Auckland has hosted an athletics competition in a different settting - there was also Summer Vaults (where they hold a pole vault competition at a cafe in Mission Bay) and Shot in the City (where Val Adams and others had a shot put comp inside The Cloud on Queens Wharf). Its a great way to get people interested in track and field and hopefully there will be more of it!