1,000 athletes hit the track in Maitland

The NSW Country Championships is on in Maitland this weekend.

It’s the first time that the event has been held in the city, with the Maitland Regional Athletics Centre playing host to up to 1,000 athletes and their families.

Mitchell Lightfoot, a Maitland local, will be competing in the championship, after running a personal best of 13.62 seconds in the 110 metre hurdles at the state school championships last month.

“It’s so good to have the Country Championships come to Maitland, it’s an opportunity for me to get friends and family to come along and watch me race that wouldn’t normally be be able to travel and do that.

“The facilities here are great, the track has settled in really nicely, and I know that there are people running PBs on it. They’re top tier facilities, up to par with national standards, and to be able to train here up to three times a week has been really good for me, Mr Lightfoot said.

The 18-year-old is hoping to push his best time below the sub-13.50 mark.

James Constantine from Athletics NSW believes the NSW Country Championships are one of the most important events on the calendar.

“We’ve really been looking forward to coming to Maitland for this one.

“We’ve been here a few times to check out the facilities and they’re as good as anything that we’ve seen in the state. It’s a coup for our athletes to have these facilities to compete at, and we’re keen to work with local clubs, volunteers and businesses for a great weekend of athletics,” Mr Constantine said.

Maitland Mayor Philip Penfold says securing such an event is a testament to the quality of the facility.