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Willis runs 60th sub-four

Cooks Classic Meeting, Cooks Gardens – 20 January 2014

Nick Willis

Nick Willis

Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis ran the 60th sub-four minute mile achieved at the famous Cooks Gardens track in Wanganui in 3:55.98.

Willis joins Sir John Walker and Hamish Christensen in having gone under the four minute barrier on four occasions at Cooks Gardens.

Malcolm Hicks of Auckland was second in 4:00.12 with Matt Harris of Wellington third in 4:08.02.

Willis was paced through the first two laps before setting out aggressively on his own.

He said it was an honour to achieve the 60th sub-four minute mile in Wanganui, 52 years after Sir Peter Snell ran the first and world record of 3:54.4.

“I’ve always been aware of how famous this track is, back in 1962 was the world record by Peter Snell to kick off the sub-fours and there’s been 60 odd since then and it’s an honour to join that list as one of the guys that has done it the most times,” said Willis.

Willis was in great shape

“I felt great and right where I want to be at this stage of the season. It’s been a great seven weeks training here – I can’t wait. I’m racing indoors in Boston and over 2000m in New York City before the Worlds in Poland on March 8,” said Willis.

Angie Smit followed up her 800m victory in Hastings two days earlier with a personal best mile of 4:43.66, seven seconds faster than she ran in Timaru three weeks ago. Rosa Flanagan was second in 4:46.37 and Caroline Mellsop third in 4:52.31 a five second improvement on her time in the same race last year.

National secondary schools 1500m champion Jordan Rackham won the junior mile in 4:20.79 from Jeff Lautenslager 4:21.93 and Mike Lowe 4:23.57 who were both slightly faster than last year.

Joseph Millar won the sprint double in 10.60 (+2.4) over 100m and 21.28 (+1.2) in the 200m. Zoe Hobbs captured the same double in the women’s sprints with times of 11.89 (+2.9) and 24.31 (+0.9). Louise Jones was second in both in 12.29 and 24.36. Hobbs also won the long jump with 5.48m (+0.5).

Maxim Mischenko was over the bar at 4.80m in the pole vault to win from Pascal Kethers who also cleared 4.80m. Eliza McCartney was just 1cm short of her best in the pole vault, with a height of 4.10m.

Jenni Scott had a legal 11.72m (+2.0) in the triple jump, Liz Lamb cleared 1.75m in the high jump, and Siositina Hakeai won the discus with a throw of 52.55m.

Matthew Wyatt won the long jump with 7.17m (+1.4) and Jordan Peters made it to 2.05m in the high jump.

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