GREG AGNEW/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT
Moncton and its Hub City Track and Field Classic will be the host to a National Track League event in July, 2012. On hand for the announcement Friday were athletes Madison Dayton and Sidney Donaldson, meet director Peter Stuart and CEO of Athletics Canada Rob Guy.
They may even record the best time of their lives on the ultra-fast running surface at Stade Moncton Stadium.
Stuart, the long-time coach of Athlétisme Sud-Est/South-East Athletics, is the meet director for the Hub City Track and Field Classic, scheduled for July 5 at the stadium.
The Classic has been added to the National Track League schedule for the 2012 season. Moncton will be the fourth stop on the schedule, which also includes stops in Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Vancouver and Victoria.
The league is an international point-based series which sees athletes compete for prize money and overall championships.
Athletics Canada chief executive offer Rob Guy said at a news conference at city hall yesterday that Canada will send 30-35 track and field athletes to London and many of them will probably compete in Moncton.
"You're going to see many of the big names from Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and South America here in Moncton," Guy said.
"It's only a month or so before the London Games and many of the athletes won't want to be in Europe that early, but they will be looking for competitive situations," he said. "That's what we'll be offering in Moncton."
Stuart said local organizers will be offering more than the intense competition.
"Last year, we hosted the first Hub City Classic and the athletes loved it," Stuart said. "Our volunteers were there to help from the moment they arrived and I had a number of top athletes tell me that our meet was second to none. The hospitality and organization was second to none."
Last year's Classic attracted 500 spectators and Stuart is confident 2,000 fans can be drawn to the stadium for the event.
"The fans who showed up last year had a great time and the word-of-mouth was positive," Stuart said. "We offer two-and-a-half hours of constant action. It's a great time and people are going to see world-class athletes in our backyard."
Middle and elementary school students will be invited to practice with Olympic athletes on the day before the meet.
On the afternoon of the Classic, top high school competitors from all over the Maritimes will have their own meet at the stadium. The Classic will run on the evening of July 5.
The event will feature National Track League events, two para-athlete events and four open competitions.
Moncton will also host the Canadian senior track and field championships in 2013 and 2014.