Westlake Boys High School is the premier Athletics, Cross Country and Distance Running School in Auckland with a long and proud history that has produced many fine athletes over the years. In 2013 our athletes won seven national medals and gold in the Intermediate Road Running National Competition and earlier this week our students booked successes in the Auckland Triathlon Championships securing first place in the intermediate and second in the senior competition. Next Thursday 70 Westlake Boys students will compete in the North Harbour zone Track and Field Athletics Championships at the AUT Millennium Stadium and for Westlaker Roy Stevenson this event will bring back fond memories of his running days at Westlake.
During his time at Westlake Boys from 1968-1971, Roy was the junior, intermediate and senior Cross Country Champion as well as the intermediate and senior Mile Champion. He remembers his good mate, sculptor Jeff Thomson’s concrete artwork outside the school library. Jeff was given a limited budget to make this piece and could not afford the concrete he needed to produce it. Being the creative person that he was, he press-ganged several of the fit athletes to fill the base with empty beer bottles – which naturally had to emptied before going in the hole. Roy was one of several volunteers who helped provide “filler” for that sculpture and although he can’t remember the exact amount of bottles, it certainly was a substantial number.
In his last year at school Roy led his Cross Country team to victory over King’s College, finishing second behind Roger Simmons of King’s in the race. Roy recalls that principal Rod Macmillan was particularly pleased with the efforts of the team as it showed that Westlake’s runners could mix it with the big boys at King’s and Auckland Grammar School. The same year Roy placed 4th in the 3000m steeplechase of the inaugural North Island Athletics Championships in Waikato.
After graduating at Westlake, Roy studies at Auckland Secondary Teachers College attending Auckland University at the same time. 1974 was a big year for Roy. He won the Auckland 3000m Steeplechase Championship, set a New Zealand junior record of 2:42:28 in the Calliope Marathon and competed in numerous New Zealand Athletics, Cross Country and Road Race Championships.
His teaching career started in 1976 at Massey High School as a PE teacher moving on to Mount Albert Grammar in 1978. From there on Roy left to pursue his graduate studies at Ohio University in the United States where he graduated his Masters in Exercise Science in 1982 before pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon in 1983.
After moving to Seattle in 1986 Roy founded the Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer programme at Lake Washington Technical College (now Lake Washington Institute of Technology) in Kirkland and taught there until he accompanied his wife in 2002 on an expat assignment to Singapore followed by a two and a half year stint in Brussels and Belgium.
Since returning to Seattle, Roy has been a professional freelance, advertising copy and travel writer, publishing in many magazines, newspapers and in-flight magazines. His writing assignments take him all over the world. He cruises canals and explores many special places the world has on offer sharing his experiences with his readers. Although he doesn’t do a lot of running these days, Roy’s passion for athletics led to a recent assignment for Track and Field News and American Track and Field Magazine, travelling to the five Diamond League Athletics Meets in Birmingham, London, Monaco, Paris and Lausanne.
If you hear any news of Westlake Old Boys or former staff or if you are interested in supporting Westlakers events and activities, please contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by email [email protected]