Athletics: Changes to Uni Oval means no relay records this year

John Maguire.
John Maguire.
No records will be broken at the Athletics Otago Lovelock Relays next weekend.

The 1500m relay event has been moved from the University Oval due to upgrade work being done at the venue and, with slightly different dimensions to the track, it has been decided times cannot be compared with previous years.

The event, now in its 79th year, has been moved to the oval's number two ground instead.

"It's still going to be a 375m loop but we're probably going to have to put a clause in there saying no records can be broken because it's on a different ground,'' organiser John Maguire said.

"It's a bit smaller than what we're used to. The corners are possibly going to be a bit tighter.

"It's usually quite elliptical.''

The event was being organised this year by the Hill City-University Athletic Club.

The club's committee had a meeting on Monday night to discuss the spacing issue and a surveyor was at the ground the next morning to mark out the track.

It was then decided to move the event off the main ground for what is believed to be the first time in its history.

"The [Dunedin City] council's been really supportive and they've prioritised us on [the] number two [ground],'' Maguire said.

Awards and trophies would still be handed out as normal and Maguire was confident the event would still be a success.

The committee had considered not holding the event but decided it was worth going ahead with it.

"I'm feeling positive that it's going to be as good as ever.''

About 160 athletes were expected to enter the race, first held in 1937 to commemorate New Zealand runner Jack Lovelock's gold-medal winning 1500m performance at the Berlin Olympics a year earlier.

The event would be staged across four separate races, starting with the 10 and under and 12 and under age-groups.

That group would be followed by high school girls and boys, masters women and social and mixed teams; senior women and masters men and senior men.

Men's teams consist of six runners and women's teams consist of four.

The men's record was set by an Otago University team in 1971, which ran 24min, 12.6sec, while the women's record was also held by an Otago University team, which ran 19min 24sec in 2010.

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