Several of New Zealand’s stars from Rio 2016 including medallists Tom Walsh, Eliza McCartney and Liam Malone will be in action against top international athletes this February in the Athletics New Zealand International Athletics Series.

The series of three events will give New Zealanders the chance to see world class athletics and to meet and interact with local and international athletics stars.

Two CBD street style events followed by a more conventional track meet will give fans the opportunity to experience the best of athletics up close and personal.

Sunday 19 February – 2017 Mike Greer Homes Big Shot & Fast K, Christchurch CBD

The three-event series will kick off on Sunday 19 February in the Christchurch  CBD with The Mike Greer Homes Big Shot and Fast K taking place at the city’s Retro Sports Facility on the corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets. The event, hosted by the Christchurch’s International Track Meet Trust will see Kiwi Shot Put stars Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill in action against a world class field of international competitors. The overseas contingent will be headed by Rio gold medallist, American Ryan Crouser. Crouser and Walsh had several great clashes in 2016 with Crouser taking home the spoils in Rio before Walsh bounced back with good late season form to take overall Diamond League honours.

Also in action will be former Indoor World Champion Ryan Whiting, who previously visited New Zealand in 2015, setting new NZ All Comer’s Records twice in 48 hours. Rio Olympic finalist Damien Birkinhead of Australia will complete the elite line up in what is likely to be one of the strongest fields for a Shot Put Competition anywhere in the world in 2017.

Top middle distance runners from New Zealand and Australia will be in action in the Fast K 1000m race through the streets of Christchurch to kick off the event. This street 1000m event for men and women will see several Olympic athletes in action as they start building up to the 2017 World Championships in London.

Wednesday 22 February – 2017 Vertical Pursuit – Britomart, Auckland

Eliza McCartney’s 2017 season debut will take place in the unique confines of The Atrium, Britomart in Auckland’s CBD in the 2017 Vertical Pursuit event. McCartney will face top North American vaulters who should provide a stern challenge to the Rio Bronze medallist. Rising star and new holder of McCartney’s former U17 National Record Olivia McTaggart will also be in the mix, in her first taste of elite competition.

The free event indoors at Britomart’s Atrium under the Westpac Building will showcase New Zealand’s top vaulters, with the top men’s competitors expected to be jumping well in excess of five metres. Fans will have the opportunity to get up close to the action and watch the athletes soar.

Sunday 26 February – 2017 Auckland Track Challenge, AUT Millennium, North Shore

The 2017 Auckland Track Challenge event takes place this year at AUT Millennium Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore. As a base for High Performance Sport New Zealand, this venue is very familiar to top athletes. Eliza McCartney will be jumping on her home track in front of a partisan North Shore crowd.

This Auckland Track Challenge will feature the second leg of the international Men’s Shot Put and Women’s Pole Vault events as well as top level sprinting and middle distance running.

The event will be a track meet like no other, with the crowd invited over the barriers to get up close to the action.

A new initiative will be the People’s Mile, supported by two-time Olympic 1500m medallist Nick Willis. This event is designed to give everyone the opportunity to experience track running, no matter their speed or experience. Participants will have the opportunity to take to the track prior to the international competition commencing and run a timed mile. Nick Willis will be on hand to lead warm-ups and provide tips for keen participants.

Website for more information

Athletics NZ 2017 Summer Calendar

6-8 Jan            North Island Colgate Games                         Hastings

7 Jan                Lovelock Classic                                              Timaru

12 Jan              Jumps to Music                                              Hawera

13-15 Jan        South Island Colgate Games                         Invercargill

14 Jan              Potts Classic                                                   Hastings

17 Jan              Cooks Classic (NZ Junior 3000m Champs)    Wanganui

20 Jan              Capital Classic (NZ Senior 3000m Champs)  Wellington

28 Jan              NZ 10,000m Championships                          Inglewood

4-11 Feb          Nitro Series                                                     Melbourne

11 Feb             Porritt Classic                                                 Hamilton

17 Feb             The Big Shot and Fast K                                 Christchurch

18-19 Feb        NZ Combined Events Championships                       Dunedin

22 Feb             Vertical Pursuit                                               Auckland

26 Feb             Auckland Track Challenge                             North Shore

3-5 Mar           NZ Masters Track & Field Championships    Nelson

17-19 Mar       NZ Track & Field Championships                  Hamilton

1-2 Apr            South Island Sec Schools Championships    Dunedin

8-9 Apr            North Island Sec Schools Championships    Inglewood

15-16 Apr        Grade 12 & 13 Inter Provincial                      Wellington

22-30 Apr        World Masters Games                                   Auckland


Media Release (Published without change and with permission) from AthleticsNew Zealand