At The Finish Line
Arthur Grayburn Tribute
Javelin throwing exponent and New Zealand Masters Association stalwart Arthur Grayburn of Christchurch died on Saturday 10 November 2007. Grayburn, who celebrated his 80th birthday on 9 October, never recovered from a recent stroke.
The following is Bryan Kerr’s Tribute to Arthur Grayburn
My awareness of Arthur as an athlete goes back over 50 years to the early 1950’s and even though I had retired from athletics in the mid 50’s I religiously read the results where the name of Arthur Grayburn was very prominent.
Javelin throwing was always his forte having won Senior National titles in 1952 and 1953. He represented New Zealand at the 1950 Centennial Games, winning a silver medal.
As a Veteran/Masters athlete he was invincible in his age group having won 31 consecutive NZMA titles in the Javelin Throw. Internationally he was up with the best, winning two silver and two bronze medals at WAVA/WMA Championships as well as a host of Australian, American and Oceania Championships, added to this are several world age records. At the 1994 WMA games in Brisbane he won the Men’s 65 Gold Medal with a record distance of 46.94 metres.
He competed in every Masters Track and Field Championships since their introduction in 1975 as well as all but two Oceania Track and Field Championships.
His current records for the javelin include:
4 National Masters
4 Oceania Masters
5 National Masters Championship
5 Canterbury Masters
His records may be broken in the future but his 31 successive championship wins will never be erased.
I did a lot of training at the Ilam track at the same time as Arthur and he was always trying to get me and other broken down runners to convert to throwing events. He was always willing to assist any converts.
Two training camps for Masters athletes at Methven were organised by Arthur and Merle (his wife) and these were really enjoyed by all of the participants.
He had very definite ideas as to which end he should throw the Javelin and Discus from at QE11 when two events were run concurrently. He would set the gear up to throw into the wind and would often have to be advised that his event was actually scheduled for the other end.
As a Masters Athlete Arthur has held the following positions:
Long time Executive Member of CMA serving as President 1982-1984
Secretary/Organiser of the South Island Masters Track and Field Championships from 1981 until 2005
Vice Chairman Organising Committee 4th World Veterans Games, Christchurch 1981
Chairman of the 4th World Games Trust
Eleven Years Executive member of NZMA
Eight years Executive member OMA
Plus many other long service and merit awards
Arthur worked very hard to keep Masters Athletics in front of the public by keeping the local press and radio up to date with results from overseas events. He would also arrange interviews for successful local masters athletes. He was well known for his interesting articles and photographs in the Cantalong and Vetline publications as well as his statistical work.
Arthur, with the assistance of Merle, was involved in compiling and continuously updating the NZMA performance records as well as the CMA records. The CMA records were meticulously written by hand on cards and it was an onerous task for him to type the lists when required. Recently we converted to electronic records and regularly sent copies to Arthur. Arthur commented to me on the accuracy of my typing when producing the latest record lists and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that it was just a matter of a little updating and pressing the print button.
Arthur and Merle were also responsible for the publication of the excellent book “The History of New Zealand Veteran Athletics 1962-1999”.
For his unceasing contribution to Masters Athletics Arthur was justifiably rewarded with Life Membership of the NZMA in 1996 and the CMA in 2002.
He was honoured by Athletics New Zealand with a Merit Award in July last year.
Arthur, your extraordinary contribution to athletics and in particular Masters Athletics will be sadly missed as will our long telephone conversations including the odd swapping of the latest jokes.
We tried to sort out the All Blacks selectors, coaches, players and referees and if they had listened to us we would have won the World Cup.
Rest in peace.