Centenary celebrations for Cambridge Athletics Club

From left, Logan Jenner, Camille Buscomb, club president George Chambers, Margaret Fisher (treasurer), Iris Hansen nee Bruce (past club member), Janne Fraser (secretary), John Charlton (vice president and Harriers Chairperson), John Noble (life member), Melva Pentelow (club patron and life member), chairman Andrew Langman and Ivy Langman.

The Cambridge Athletics Club celebrated a special birthday recently, marking one hundred years since the club began on October 17, 1918. The evening on Wednesday last week also doubled as the first club night of the athletics season, which continues through to March of next year.

Formed originally as the Cambridge Athletics and Cycling Club, the club has had many stand-out members over the years, from 2010 Commonwealth Games 800m and 1500m silver medallist Nikki Hamblin through its stalwart senior Harriers. At its core it remains a thriving kids club with around 330 youngsters from three to 14 years old attending club nights every Wednesday at the grounds on Vogel St.

Andrew Langman became chairperson of the club’s junior section four years ago and led the amalgamation of the junior and senior sections of the club into one entity. More recently, work has started on laying down a 20m synthetic lane to allow for hurdles practise – without the need to drive to Hamilton which has a synthetic track – and a 30m synthetic lane for long jump after acquiring rolls of second-hand all-weather track. The club also hopes to lay down an all-weather high jump D in future.

The birthday celebrations on October 17 doubled as the club’s first night of the season.

“As a club that’s what we celebrate…PBs (personal bests). As long as the athletes feel they are getting better we are happy and what better way to do that than to set a PB,” said Andrew. “Having this emphasis has given our athletes a greater belief to be the best that they can be, but not needing ‘to be the best’. Through this focus it has been great to see in the last year a number of athletes stepping up to compete at the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Championships. We also had athletes compete in combined events champs last year. We are looking at having up to eight athletes compete at the North Island Combined Events this year. This would have been unheard of three years ago.”

The club marked their 100th anniversary with a cake-cutting ceremony, with Camille Buscomb and club patron Melba Pentelow doing the honours. Cambridge Athletics also plan to toast their centenary celebrations with an additional event on the first weekend of December.

These will be occasions marked with the satisfaction of knowing the club is in good health and, according to Andrew, with some very simple principles at its core.

“Cambridge Athletics is all about family and communities and it is about striving to be the best you can be…and attaining PBs.”

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