World War II from 1939 – 1945 caused a substantial decrease in the University of Canterbury Athletic Club’s numbers and resulted in the death of a number of earlier University club members. The Hagley Memorial Baton Relay (as it was then called) became a memorial race for those members who lost their lives in the war. The first year of the Relay was 1950, run on 3rd July around South Hagley Park. In later years it has been run on the closest Saturday to ANZAC day. The first race was won by the Christchurch Club. The University finally won their own relay in 1951, 52 and 53. The relay was moved to its current course in Hagley Park in 1973.
We have the Poppy on our event to symbolise that the event as a Memorial to those University athletes who lost their lives in the Second World War.