Athletes better personal bests at classic

GREG LAUTENSLAGER
Last updated 13:00 26/01/2013

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The only triumphs Athletics Nelson athletes had at Tuesday's Cooks Classic in Whanganui came over their own personal bests.

Ideal conditions at the Cooks Gardens track led to top performances for the Nelson competitors, most competing in their first meet of 2013 and as part of a two-stop North Island Tour of Diamond League Meetings that concludes with today's Capital Classic in Wellington.

Chris Brake started with a leap of 14.00m for second place in the triple jump, 0.17m better than his personal best.

Then Alex Jordan, coming off a big 400m training base, finished fifth in the 100m in 10.86sec and just off his personal best in a race won by Joseph Millar in 10.55sec.

Andrew Kennedy, of Nelson, was seventh in 11.23sec. Jonas Kale ran 11.33sec for second in an earlier heat.

Jeff Lautenslager was the fastest of the six Nelson entries in the junior men's mile, pushing past Mike Lowe in the home stretch for eighth place in 4min 22.79sec. He improved 34 seconds from his previous mile race two years ago.

Lowe was ninth in 4:23.48. He was followed by Cameron Murdoch (4:32.53, 11), Josh Barry (4:33.28, 12), Thomas Andersen (4:34.11, 13) and Allister Meffan (4:41.11, 16). All were massive personal bests. Matt Baxter, of New Plymouth, won the race 4:12.25.

Jess Martin polished off the evening, narrowly missing a sub-five minute mile.

Her time of 5:01.21 was good for ninth place in the women's mile race won by 2012 Olympic semi-finalist Lucy Van Dalen in 4:36.07. Martin took more than 16sec off Mandy Russ' Senior and Junior Tasman Centre and Athletics Nelson Club women's mile records.

In the meeting's final event, the men's mile, 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis broke away from the field with 600m remaining and won easily in 3:58.09.

It was the 59th sub four-minute mile recorded at Cooks Gardens. Peter Snell was the first to break four minutes with his world record 3:54.4 in 1962.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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