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Ryan and Moller inducted into Hall of Fame


Mike Ryan was a remarkable marathon runner, and among the long list of internationally acclaimed marathon runners New Zealand has produced he stands out as the most accomplished.

Ryan won the bronze medal in the marathon at the 1966 Kingston Jamaica British Commonwealth Games, in 2h 27m 59s and he went on to win the bronze medal in the marathon at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, in 2h 23m 45s.

These were outstanding achievements given the conditions Ryan faced on both occasions.

In Jamaica he had to endure extreme Jamaican heat and in Mexico rarefied air. Ryan was a runner of great determination, and it was this determination that gained him bronze medals at these Games.

Three months after his performance in Jamaica, on 27 November 1966, Ryan won the prestigious Fukuoka marathon in Japan in a personal best time and the best time by a New Zealander at that time of 2h 14m 5s.

Ryan was the 1968 Halberg Sportsman of the year and also the supreme award winner that year for his achievement in Mexico City. Two men dominated the pre-race talk in Mexico, two time winner Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia and the world’s fastest marathon runner Derek Clayton of Australia. By the end of the 42.2km race neither was anywhere to be seen. First into the stadium was another Ethiopian Mamo Wolde, followed by a Japanese Kenji Kimihara. Then, lifting his pace with the roar from the crowd, that had just gone up after Bob Beamon had set a world long jump record of 8.90m in the rarefied air, was the little-regarded New Zealander with impressive credentials, Mike Ryan, for the bronze medal.

Ryan was born in Scotland and came to New Zealand in 1963.

In 1967 he ran in the World Cross Country Championships in Barry Wales and later that year returned to the Fukuoka marathon where he finished ninth. Ryan�s international career rounded out with a fifth in the 10,000m at the first Pacific Conference Games in Tokyo in 1969.

Ryan won New Zealand titles, in 1967 in cross country, 1969 over six miles and at the 1971 New Zealand championships in Inglewood won the 10,000m and 5000m on successive days.

Lorraine Moller is one of New Zealand’s greatest women distance runners. Represented New Zealand in the marathon at four Olympic Games, winner of three Avon women’s marathons, winner of the Boston marathon and three times winner of the Osaka International women’s marathon.

Moller ran competitively from the age of 13 until well into her 40s and had a reputation for being able to record world-class times in a range of events, from 800 metres to the marathon. Among many international successes, she won bronze medals in the 1500m and 3000m at the Commonwealth Games in 1982, silver in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games in 1986 in a time of 2h 28m 17s, and bronze in the marathon at the Olympic Games in 1992 in 2h 33m 54s. She is widely credited with opening up the road racing circuit in the United States to women athletes.

Moller was fifth in the 1975 world cross country championships in Rabat Morocco.

Moller won New Zealand titles, road title in 1974, 1975 and 1979 and cross country title 1976.

Footnote: Athletics now have 24 inductees in the Hall, second to rugby which has 28 (including four teams) so is equal on individuals. Next best is swimming with 11.
Other athletes in the NZ Sports Hall of Fame are: Marise Chamberlain, Rod Dixon, Sir Murray Halberg, Harry Kerr, Stan Lay, Jack Lovelock, Arthur Lydiard, Cecil Matthews, Les Mills, Arthur Porritt, Dick Quax, Norman Read, Randolph Rose, Bill Savidan, Joe Scott, Peter Snell, Dick Tayler, John Walker, Roy Williams, Yvette Corlett (nee Williams), Val Young, New Zealand men’s cross country team 1975.

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