Auckland Joggers is the world’s oldest jogging club. The club started in February 1962, inspired by legendary running coach Arthur Lydiard and led by Colin Kay, both of whom were former New Zealand Commonwealth Games representatives.
Colin Kay was an Auckland businessman in the clothing trade and later became Mayor of Auckland. The story goes that Arthur met Colin on a flight to Auckland and gave him a hard time about his weight and lack of fitness. Colin took up jogging and the new healthy lifestyle with such passion, that he began challenging other unfit men to join him.
On 11 February, 1962 Arthur and Colin led ‘a motley bunch of about 30 unfit men, some quite old and some unable to manage more than 100 metres that day, because Arthur had convinced them it would do them nothing but good.’ (Garth Gilmour, ‘Running for Our Lives’).
Later that year, noted American track coach, Bill Bowerman brought his Oregon University track team to New Zealand to compete against Arthur’s athletes. Bill, who was clearly out of shape, was invited for a jog to the summit of One Tree Hill with the Joggers. He too became a jogging convert and returned to the US to spread the jogging gospel.
From these humble beginnings, the jogging movement swept the world. Soon 10k and charitable ‘fun runs’ were happening with marathons and half marathons springing up everywhere.
Bowerman also became involved in developing running shoes and founded the Nike shoe company.
Arthur Lydiard provided much of the training fitness expertise, now ably continued at Auckland Joggers by fervent Lydiard disciple and former Olympian, Barry Magee, who is our club’s Patron.
Back at Auckland Joggers, women began joining in the early 1970’s and some formed walking packs for the first time.
In the 1990’s the club formed a 50/50 partnership with Grammar Rugby Club (later Grammar Carlton), to own and share the premises in Puriri Drive, Epsom.