My time on the California Track and Field tour was arguably the best athletics trip I’ve been to, alongside World U20s. This shows the calibre of not only the competition side, but also the social and tourist side. My personal best in the 200m still stands from my time on this tour two years ago. I cannot recommend this trip any higher to anyone considering going.
During the athletics season of 2016 I and three other athletes attended the California tour, this trip consisted of a variety of events such as Long Beach, San Diego and much more. We were lucky enough to be staying close to Concordia University where we were able to train and spend hours in the heat. Apart from the serious focus, we also spent plenty of time being 'tourists' - shopping, beach lying, watching baseball and venturing into Hollywood to do some window shopping in Rodeo Drive. “The trip lasted for 3 weeks, although it felt like a lifetime, as I learnt so many aspects about myself, others and athletics itself, I came away as a grown person as I feel I now have my focus and the new motivation to push towards future goals and aspirations. We were lucky enough to be going with Greg Lautenslager who is an enthusiastic character with so much experience and passion behind him; I thoroughly enjoyed gaining as much knowledge from his as I could. He was very supportive and always fun to be around which made us feel all very at home. “I would recommend to anyone who may consider the trip to simply 'bite the bullet' and go - it is one experience you will hold with you for a lifetime and will never forget.
I went on the California track tour in 2013. It was the best sporting trip I had and still have been on. We got to see all the main attractions of LA and even made it out to Vegas for 2 days. The racing was great with quality competition, which saw me run personal bests in both the 1500m and the 800m. I was also lucky enough to line up next to and race Will Leer in a 1500m. As well as being a blast of a trip it also helped me focus on my running. It opened my eyes to another side of running and was the defining step which led me to study for 2.5 years on a track scholarship in America. If you're interested in going to the states to run, this trip is a perfect test run which will give you an idea of what it's all about. It's also a great opportunity for runners who want to push their PB's to the next level as well as having a blast while they do it!!
As a competitive domestic athlete who has raced in numerous New Zealand based track events over the years, having the opportunity to compete in California in a fully organised, an all-inclusive trip was just too easy. Greg did a fantastic job of organising everything! The flights, accommodation, entertainment, race schedule, as well as getting me a spot on the start line in some very competitive events. This was more than a fun trip with fellow athletes. It provided me with the opportunity to take the next step forward in the pursuit to improve my performance and re-ignited my passion for running along the way. I’d highly recommend this trip to any athletes out there looking to take a big step forward in their athletic career.
The California Tour was such a fantastic experience to be part of and on both my 2014 and 2015 trips. I learned so much about racing overseas and from competing against tough competition and in a different environment than in New Zealand. I gained so many valuable skills and this experience really opened my eyes to what it's like competing in a different country and how mentally tough you have to be to race well when you're pushed out of your comfort zone or under pressure. Being able to watch and compete at some of the top USA athletic meets, up against athletes of such high calibre, is really inspiring and has given me the extra push and determination to succeed in this sport and reach my long term goals. Overall, I am so glad I was able to go on the California Tour two years in a row as I learned so much about the sport whilst having the most fun few weeks of my life with an awesome group of athletes exploring Los Angeles, San Francisco and so much more!
I went on the California Tour in 2015 and I can honestly say it was one of the defining moments of my athletics career. Not only did I get to compete at an international level in heptathlon but it also gave me the opportunity to get in contact with a number of US colleges and discuss the possibility of a university track scholarship in the states. What made the tour so memorable was that there was as much of a focus on experiencing California and making life-long friends as there was on the athletics. Some of the highlights included competing in the Arcadia Invitational, watching the NBA and driving down the Pacific Coast Highway.
The California Tour in 2015 was definitely the best athletics experience of my life. It's great to be competing in such awesome conditions and at night under lights, something I've never done in NZ. It was much fun to be able to train in the mornings then visit theme parks, the zoo and other tourist attractions while over there. The competition is extremely tough and I really enjoyed the push, getting a PB and my first international medal in the process! I would do the tour again in a heartbeat!
The California Tour led by Greg Lautenslager was, at the time, my first real taste of competition through the US collegiate athletics system – and made me even more excited for beginning at Stony Brook University in New York, later that same year. Although in running we tend to chase fast times and high placings (both of which I was thrilled to achieve on this tour), my time away also made me appreciate the people we met through sport and the places running can take us. I still carry friendships I made on the tour with me today and when we catch up there’s always an abundance of smiles and laughs from our shared times together at Disneyland, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and California beaches – don’t worry, all running-related excursions!
I would do the tour again in a heartbeat!
One particular memory that Greg refuses to let me forget is our 90min ‘easy run’ through the glitter/glam and swarms of people along Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. He still claims it to be one of his best runs ever – something I am happy to share it too! Additionally, on tour we had the opportunity to teach others, important skills for managing ourselves – from budgeting to laundry to cooking, all skills inclusive. Life-long lessons! Overall, it was a wonderful experience and an opportunity I hope others will take up and enjoy as much as I did. The California Tour in 2015 was definitely the best athletics experience of my life. It's great to be competing in such awesome conditions and at night under lights, something I've never done in NZ. It was much fun to be able to train in the mornings then visit theme parks, the zoo and other tourist attractions while over there. The competition is extremely tough and I really enjoyed the push, getting a PB and my first international medal in the process!
I would do the tour again in a heartbeat!
I found the California Athletics Tour an amazing opportunity to develop as an athlete. The depth of competition in the United States far extends what you can find in New Zealand and the experience has played a large role in helping my transition to competing in the U.S on a Full Athletics Scholarship. With California’s perfect racing conditions at that time of the year I would highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to chase fast times at the close of the domestic track season.
I have been competing in athletics for five years as a sprinter, and the California Tour would definitely have to be one of the major highlights. Getting to run in great weather conditions on nice tracks with top competition gave me the opportunity to run some good times at the end of our summer season and gave me that little bit of international experience which was really helpful as a young, aspiring athlete. All the NZ athletes we travelled with were really supportive of each other. We had a lot of fun and great team coach/manager who took us sight seeing between meets. I would definitely recommend it.