The Commonwealth Games are a pivotal event for many athletes across the world and I have had the privilege of being involved with the New Zealand team for three separate Games.

This year was a little different and I relished the ability to take more of a spectator role than I could as an official member of the team. I did, however, get a chance to attend some of the games as I was invited to present a workshop on “culture and performance” at the Global Coaches Conference.

It was a really special moment to see the Manawatū-based athletes performing so well in their respective events. Our own Sarah Goss, Vilimoni Koroi, Kurt Baker and Stuart Ross were all integral members of the women’s and men’s rugby sevens teams who took gold. And our medal haul didn’t stop there, with Campbell Stewart picking up two cycling silvers, Hayden Phillips taking a silver medal as part of our men’s hockey team, Michaela Drummond receiving silver in the 4000-metre team pursuit and Barry Winks and Mark Noble winning a silver medal in the triples para bowling, alongside Christchurch athlete Bruce Wakefield.

Attending the Games for the fourth time was a real honour. It is always awe-inspiring to see our athletes on the world stage and humbling to see so many friends, families and supporters out there waving the Kiwi flag and cheering their athletes on.

Back home, if this past week has shown us anything, it is that winter is approaching fast. With this in mind, we thought it fitting to give you a bit of an overview of some of the things you can do in our region to keep active and have some fun at the same time over the colder months.

Most of our winter team sports such as rugby, netball, hockey, football and basketball host a range of competitions from competitive to social, for all ages. Other options to look at could be cross-country running, cycling or mountainbiking. Head on over to the sports’ various websites for more details or feel free to give us a call if you want a little help choosing what’s right for you this winter.

Of course, there are options abounding across the wider Manawatū region to get out and explore our beautiful area. It might be a little muddier underfoot, but there is still plenty on offer for walks, including the Manawatū Gorge walk or the Sledge Track – Google will help you find these. Or why not head out to Foxton or Himatangi Beach for a quiet stroll or a bit of a run around with the kids?

Himatangi Beach boasts the largest sand dunes in New Zealand, so why not take the family out for an adventure in the dunes? And, of course, keep your eyes out for the mid-winter swims.

To sign off, I would like to say a huge congratulations to all of our Whānau Tri participants. Handing out your finishing medals was a huge highlight for me. You are all a true inspiration. We hope to see you all back, ready to go again next year. For now, see you out and about across our region enjoying the many sport and recreation activities that are on offer here.

Trevor Shailer, Sport Manawatu, CEO

Published in The Manawatu Standard and on Stuff