Mavis and Barry Hunt received their Long Service awards from Athletics NZ. Photo: Supplied.

A lifetime of service

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Barry and Mavis Hunt epitomise long service.

The couple has dedicated almost 70 years to the sport they love and were presented with Long Service Awards from Athletics NZ at the Harold Nelson Classic on Saturday night.

Barry has worn almost every hat possible in the athletics world.

He has coached world champions, witnessed sporting history and helped create dynasties.

“I have been an athlete, coach, selector, manager, timekeeper, been to world championships, Commonwealth Games and formed two clubs.”

The 87-year-old is from an era when amateur coaches gave their life for the love of the game, not the pay cheque.

“I was never paid for my coaching, but I had some wonderful experiences.”

Mavis has also dedicated her life to the track – whether as a time-keeper, an official or helping her husband with his training.

She says she was the mother of the team most of the time.

“I just love to be involved.”

The 85-year-old says she has been all over the country timekeeping.

Sprinting, of course, runs in the family.

Their son, Peter Hunt, is also a former national 100m champion.

The couple moved to Nelson in 1995 after retiring.

However, Barry could not be kept away entirely and before long he was being asked to coach a struggling Nelson club.

Five years later, the club was the South Island champions.

“The club was at a low point and I spent five years bringing them up to eighth in the country and to a national second division title.”

In his final act before retiring, Barry was instrumental in negotiating the all-weather track at Saxton.

“I’m 87, so for the past three years I haven’t done much,” he says. “But for the past 70 years I’ve been pretty well involved right the way through.”