Lowe aiming for top step

GREG LAUTENSLAGER
Last updated 13:00 15/02/2013
Mike lowe
COMING UP SHORT: Nelson's Mike Lowe is all to used to finishing second.

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After a rash of runner-up performances at national championship meets the past two years, it has been suggested to Athletics Nelson runner Mike Lowe that a street could be named after him.

They could call it Second Street.

Lowe finished second in the M17 3000m and the 2000m steeplechase at the 2011 New Zealand track and field championships, second in the senior boys' 3000m at the 2011 New Zealand secondary schools championships and second in the M17 3000m and the 1500m at the 2012 New Zealand track and field championships.

"There are far too many silver medals for my liking," Lowe said.

Lowe hopes to change silver to gold at tomorrow's New Zealand junior 3000m championships in Nelson. It is the first ever national championship event to be held on the Saxton Field Athletics Track, where Lowe has won six out of his last seven races - including triumphs in the senior boys' 1500m and 3000m at last year's South Island secondary schools athletics championships. He will have the advantage of a familiar track, a local crowd, limited travel and being able to sleep in his own bed the night before the race.

But there is a big road block standing in his way of a breakthrough in the form of Hamilton's Jacob Priddy.

Priddy's best 3km time of 8min 37.26sec is 10 seconds faster than Lowe's best mark, and he finished ahead of Lowe in the 3000m at the New Zealand secondary schools championships in December and at last month's senior 3000m championships in Wellington.

But Lowe beat Priddy in capturing the 2011 North Island M17 cross country title and the 2011 New Zealand M17 cross country title, and he finished ahead of him on the opening 9.11km leg of the junior men's race at the New Zealand road relay championships in Upper Moutere last October.

"I would like to repeat that performance from the road relay," Lowe said. "But Jacob is a very tough competitor and this will be one of those all out races where you have to leave everything on the track."

Lowe's team-mates, including Jeff Lautenslager, Josh Barry and Thomas Andersen, and Otago's Joe Beamish are also expected to be in the medal hunt for the race that begins at 7.40pm. It will be preceded by the women's 3000m championship at 7.20pm, which features Athletics Nelson's Jess Martin and top North Island runners Audrey Gregan, of Auckland, and Olivia Ritchie, of Hamilton.

The races will climax an evening that starts with the second annual Harold Nelson Classic at 5pm. Most athletics events will be contested and hopefully one by sprinting sensation Alex Jordan.

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The two-time New Zealand 400m champion is waiting for a doctor's clearance to compete after being admitted to hospital the morning after an intense 4x400m relay leg in Christchurch on February 2. He suffered from kidney problems and was sent back to Nelson with a doctor's instruction "not to run so hard".

Other top Nelson competitors include men's sprinters Andrew Kennedy and Jonas Kale, women sprinters Claire Erasmus and Amanda Fitisemanu, jumpers Chris Brake and Stefanie Aeschlimann, throwers Dale Pritchard and Courtney Clarke and rapidly improving Takaka multi-eventers Kai Mason and Rosie Taylor-Richmond.

The entry fee for competitors at the Harold Nelson Classic is $3 - sign up at the gate. Admission for spectators is free and donations to the National Academy of Distance Running Charitable Trust are welcomed. For meet queries, contact the National Academy of Distance Running office at 923 2321.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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