We asked five of our top athletes to each give us three reasons why they love the sport of athletics. A similar theme comes through but there are also some surprises in there.
Tom Walsh – World Indoor shot put champion and Olympic bronze medallist
1) Athletics has allowed to travel the world and earn money throwing things, which if you had told me that was even a remote possible as a schoolboy, I would have taken up the offer. Since I started athletics I must have travelled to more than 30 countries and experienced some amazing cities like New York and London.
2) I love the pursuit of executing perfect throw, which is not always easy to achieve. The perfect throw might be a 20m or a 22m throw depending on my training load and how I am feeling. It always changes, so that makes it really exciting.
3) I love the fact athletics is so diverse. It pulls in many different cultures from 100m sprinters to middle-distance runners and high jumpers to race walkers. It is interesting to hear the philosophies the athletes have from the different event groups about training or travel.
Eliza McCartney – New Zealand pole vault record holder and Olympic bronze medallist
1) Athletics has a real sense of community. I know this is probably true of most sports, but I enjoy the fact that I not only get to regularly compete against my opponents, but I also get to really know them, which is a cool element to my sport.
2) Athletics is very inclusive and very diverse. There are so many different types of people and body shapes and personalities across all the different disciplines. The sport is very inclusive of people from many different backgrounds
3) Athletics is truly international sport. Every time I compete I am up against the very best from all around the world. It is cool to know they are so many countries involved in the sport, so I am genuinely competing against the very best.
Hamish Carson – Five-time NZ 1500m champion and 2016 Rio Olympian
1) The variety of disciplines within track and field is what interested me from a young age and what continues to make athletics a great spectator sport.
2) Running is such a primal activity which is something everyone can do almost anywhere. I love the feeling of flowing along a forest trail, there's something meditative about the rhythm you get into and though you may come back physically tired from a run, mentally I feel refreshed.
3) I love the competition. Athletics is a truly global sport, so the competition is fierce on the world stage. But even on a local level there's nothing better than the exhilaration of challenging yourself to run faster, throw further, or jump higher than your opponent.
Holly Robinson – The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games javelin silver medallist
1) I love athletics, and more particularly javelin throwing because of the technical challenge and the event. It is not a skill that can be picked up overnight. It requires a lot of practice. Every day as a javelin thrower is different. It's a challenge, but I love it.
2) I love athletics because it’s an individual sport and it's up to you to do the hard yards and get the results. So when I attain my goals, it is very rewarding to know I have done so through my hard work.
3) The support I receive from my squad and the tight-knit athletics community is another reason why I love athletics. I get to meet and see some amazing places and people and also manage to share the experiences with so many great people.
Julian Matthews – The 2014 Commonwealth Games 1500m finalist and 2016 Rio Olympian
1) I have an insatiable appetite for competition and in my mind, running offers the most raw and intense form of competition. It is the only sport I've found that comes close to satisfying this appetite on a regular basis.
2) The array of opportunities athletics offers. Only by pursuing athletics have I had the opportunity to explore many fascinating countries, forge countless lifelong friendships and walk/run away with a university degree student loan free!
3) My training involves running long distances and for me, there is nothing more therapeutic and/or exhilarating than heading off into a beautiful natural landscape and discovering running routes I never knew existed.