Willis chases four-minute mile in Whanganui

Last updated 11:05 21/01/2013

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Nick Willis is expected to tomorrow add another sub-four minute mile to the long list that have been achieved at the famous Cooks Gardens track in Whanganui.

The Beijing Olympic 1500m silver medallist is the star attraction at the Cooks Classic track and field meeting tomorrow evening 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 the UK 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 in winning 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 are also entered.

Joseph Millar and Isaac Tatoa go head to head again over 100m with national 400m champion Alex Jordan also down for the 100m.

A strong line up 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.

The classic events start at 7.30pm with the men's mile the final event of the night, at 9pm.

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- Fairfax Media

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