Nick Willis is expected to add another sub-four minute mile tonight to the long list that has been achieved at the famous Cooks Gardens track in Whanganui.
The Beijing Olympic 1500 metre silver medallist is the star attraction at the Cooks Classic track and field meeting tonight where he will face two-time national 1500m champion Hamish Carson.
Carson was one of five runners who went under the magical barrier in last year's race, with Will Leer winning in three minutes 58.45 seconds and Willis second in 3:58.81.
National 800m champion Brad Mathas, a Whanganui local, will provide the early pace required to achieve a sub-four time for the mile.
Since Peter Snell's first world mile record of 3:54.4 51 years ago, a total of 58 sub-four minute miles have been achieved at Cooks Gardens.
The mile race will have an international flavour with Matthew Coloe, from Melbourne, and Sam Petty, from Britain, entered. Coloe competed in the 1500m at the 2005 World Youth Championships and has a best mile of 4:09.62 and Petty is the 2010 English Schools 800m champion.
London Olympian Lucy Van Dalen will feature in the women's mile. Van Dalen has a best time over the mile of 4:31.78, gained at the Cork City Games in July last year, and if the pace is on from the start, Anne Audain's 1983 New Zealand resident record of 4:33.93 could be under threat.
Rebekah Greene, from Dunedin, with a best mile of 4:47.04 and national 800m champion Angie Smit have also entered.
Joseph Millar and Isaac Tatoa will go head to head again over 100m with national 400m champion Alex Jordan also down for the 100m.
A strong lineup of Kelsey Berryman, Fiona Morrison, Mariah Ririnui and Kristie Baillie will contest the women's 100m. Baillie, the national 400m champion, will also run the 400m.
Morrison and Berryman will have earlier squared off over the 100m hurdles.
The leading athletes in the women's discus, Siositina Hakeai, Te Rina Keenan, Merewarihi Vaka and Leesa Lealaisalanoa, will step up to the circle. All four are also entered in the shot put.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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