Origin of the sport:

Athletics is a group or collection of sports which broadly encompass running, jumping, throwing and race walking. Its origins can be traced back to the first Ancient Olympics in 776 BC when the only event on the programme was ‘the stade’ – a length of the stadium foot race. The birth of modern athletics as we know it today was developed in 19th century England and the USA. Athletics took place at the first Modern Olympic Games of 1896 and has been a central pillar of the summer Olympic programme ever since.

How it works:

The track events include sprints, middle-distance and long-distance races and obstacle events including the hurdles and steeplechase events. The only non-individual events are relays. All events up to the 400m in distance are run in lanes (note, the athletes run the first 100m or so of the 800m in lanes). The aim is to cover the distance in the fastest time.

The field events are broadly separated into jumps and throws – with the aim of the former to jump the highest or longest and the latter to throw the furthest distance. Competitors in the vertical jumps – pole vault and high jump – have three attempts to make a successful clearance and advance to the next height. In the horizontal jumps - long and triple - and the throws events, athletes have up to six attempts to record their best distance.

Combined events are determined by accruing a points tally across all disciplines. Long distance road and walking events are decided by who covers the distance in the quickest time.

Format at World Masters Games 2017:

There are two main elements to the Athletics programme – Track and Road events. Para disciplines will also be offered but announced at a later date.

Age categories for athletics events are run in brackets of five years beginning with 30-34, 35-39 etc all the way up to 100+. All Olympic track events on the flat from 100m to the 5000m will be contested in Auckland as well as hurdles races in distances ranging from 80m to 400m and the 2000m and 3000m steeplechase. The 4x100m and 4x400m relay will also be held with age brackets for these disciplines calculated by adding up the total age of the four competitors in each team. They will compete in the up to 160 race, 160-199, 200-239, 240+. The eight traditional Olympic field events plus weight throw will also be held. The multi-event competitions are the Decathlon (men) Heptathlon (women) and Throws Pentathlon (men and women). In addition a 5000m Track Race Walk will also be part of the schedule.  

Of the Road events a 10km Road Race and Half Marathon will take place (these will be combined and run on the same course). In addition 4km, 6km and 8km cross country races will also be staged at WMG2017.

Expected number of competitors: 2500 (the largest sport at the Games)

Kiwi Hero:

Allison Roe – An official 2017 WMG ambassador, Allison is a New Zealand distance running legend. The Aucklander enjoyed her greatest year in 1981 when she won both the historic Boston and New York Marathons in course record times. As a former national titleholder in three sports, including triathlon, Allison has a range of sports options to compete in at World Masters Games 2017.  She said she’s lucky to have lots of choices – from swimming, running and cycling, but she would also be keen  to try something different like rowing.

See Allison being interviewed about her Boston Marathon win in 1981.


Did you know?

Among the athletes to have performed in major masters’ athletics competitions in recent years include South Africa’s former world cross country champion Zola Pieterse (nee Budd) and America’s former world triple jump record holder Willie Banks.

How to Get Involved:

See more at http://www.nzmastersathletics.org.nz/ and http://www.ama.org.nz/