And now history will show that in 2017 the Scottish Night of Miles also graced the venue.
But unless you were a kid or Santa you would not be running on the grass.
All of the events on the programme were run over a mile. The races were on the sealed path around the oval which was measured as roughly 480 metres per lap. This means that the races were 3 and a bit laps.
The start was at the southern end (Newtown end) of the grounds and the finish on the eastern side (the tunnel end). The width of the path varied but I reckon the narrowest sections were no more than two-lanes wide.
I should also mention that it was hot late afternoon– around 25c and many people opted for the shady side of the basin from which to jeer and cheer.
The first race was the Open Walker’s Mile and young Daniel Du Toit racing in WHC colours showed a clean pair or heels heading off well performed Sean Lake who finished 5 seconds back.
The field seemed to get strung out reasonably early but in the end it was Andrew Wharton who tracked Stephen through most of the race to pull off a swift overtake and win with about 100m to go. The gap at the end was 1 second but it goes to show that anything can happen in a race.
Next up was the B Mile Race for the elite men. Rowan Hooper was probably the favourite but on lap 1 was sitting in about 5th place with Kristian Day leading.
Rowan took the lead on lap 2 with Kristian and a perky Bert Prendergast just behind. But it was Ben Twyman who posed the biggest threat taking over the lead with the finish line in sight only to be thwarted with a desperate sprint finish from Rowan. Exciting stuff.
Those two broke away from the field early with Ruby making the pace and Tamara sitting on her shoulder. It could have gone either way but on the last lap Ruby put her foot on the gas and stormed home to an easy win. To me this indicates that when it comes to finishing speed Ruby is not to be underestimated.
On the grass it was the turn of the kids to show their form over 60m, with a chocolate fish as the reward. Mayor Justin Lester was on hand to hand out prizes but it was Santa who stole the show with the lolly scramble.
In the Men’s Elite A Race this is what Stephen Day had to say leading up to the event:
“In the men's race, the favourite is Nathan Tse from Wellington Harriers. Fastest times: 3:57 for 1500m and 4:19 for a mile. Nathan has not raced so far this summer so his form is unknown. His challengers are likely to be:
The last race was the All-Comers mile and because the path around the oval is not super wide the race was broken up into heats.
This is a fun event so there are no results that I know of.
Santa was in full flight and up to his usual mischief with some very odd behaviour. But even though the person wearing the white beard appeared to rotate, just like Phantom the legend lives on no matter who is inside the red suit.
Mayor Justin also did his civic duty with a run and he actually looked like he was enjoying himself.
And yes Neil Sampson, I did see you.