Some hard slog at the Nick Willis training school is paying dividends for Wellington runner and Olympic hopeful Hamish Carson.
Carson's flowing golden locks and springy running style have long been a feature of the New Zealand athletics scene and he is now making his move internationally.
The Scottish Harriers athlete has spent the last month with Willis at his Michigan training base and yesterday shaved 2.48 seconds off his 1500m personal best in Philadelphia.
In a race paced by Olympic silver medallist Willis, Carson ran 3min 38.04s in finishing eighth at Swarthmore College and is closing in on the Olympic `A' qualifying time of 3min 35s.
"Yeah, I'm about halfway there now," Carson said as he contemplated his rapid improvement.
"I came here having to take five seconds off my time and I've got two and a half so I've just got an extra two and a half to go. It was a pretty quick sort of meeting, amazing."
Giving Carson even more grounds for optimism is the fact yesterday was his first race of the American season, and he was not expecting big things.
He has till July 8 to better the time, with his next attempt in California on Saturday.
Then follows another race in Phoenix, but Carson does not expect to really hit his stride until he starts competing in Europe next month.
"My plan was to come here and get a good block of training in with Nick and his group in Michigan for the last month and this month, and then head to Europe in June and have another crack there," Carson said.
"So there's a few good opportunities and if things pan out I might just get to the Olympics. I died quite a bit on the last 100 metres, but being the first race of the season, you don't really have your finishing speed right up there. So it's promising for the rest of the season."
Willis had done a "great job" pace-setting as several athletes recorded PBs [personal bests], Carson said.
He was grateful for the support from Willis, his Scottish Harriers club and Athletics New Zealand for providing him with the platform for a genuine shot at London.
"I've been very lucky. You've got to hope and give everything you can until the cut-off date, so that's what I'm doing and I'm very thankful for the support."
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- The Dominion Post
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