Press Release Archive

Nick Willis in form for fast grass-track mile

30th January 2013

Nick Willis will be seeking a sub-four-minute mile on the grass at the international meeting at Christ’s College upper field in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Beijing Olympic 1500m silver medallist has shown the form to break the magical barrier, with a mile time of 3min 58.09sec in Whanganui last Tuesday and a 3000m of 7:57.63 in Wellington on Friday.

Competition will come from Petr Kaminski of the Czech Republic, Australian schools 1500m and 3000m champion Luke Mathews, Aaron Pulford from Hamilton and Auckland’s Ben Moynihan.

The previous New Zealand championship mile on grass was in 1969, when Dick Quax won the national title in 4:5.3 at Seddon Park, Hamilton.

Lucy Van Dalen will compete in the Brian Taylor Memorial 3000m against Susan Kuijken of the Netherlands, a triple medallist at NCAA level in the US college system. They have almost identical best 3000m times recorded indoors, Van Dalen with 8:56.77 in Boston two years ago and Kuijken with 8:56.27 in College Station Texas in 2009.

Rebekah Green and Rachel Kingsford of Otago, Rosa Flanagan and Nicki McFadzien of Canterbury and Wellington’s Tina Harris have all clocked well under 10 minutes for the distance making it an interesting race.

Last weekend in Wellington Camille Buscomb (Hamilton) ran a brilliantly judged race to retain her New Zealand women’s 3000m title after a tussle with 16-year-old Flanagan.

The two athletes ran together for much of the race before Buscomb managed to break away with 250m to run and went on to win in a personal best of 9:17.05. Flanagan recorded 9:21.86, also a personal best by 10sec and close to Sue Bruce’s 1981 national under-17 record of 9:19.76.

Australian Zoe Buckman, a semifinalist in the 1500m at the London Olympics, who has a best 800m of 2:2.19, from September in Italy, is the favourite for the 800m. Also in the field are other top-ranked runners in the country this season – Ariana Harper, Pip Trevella and Kerry White.

Brad Mathas, of Whanganui, should follow up his 1:52.79 victory last year with another win in the men’s 800m, where he will have competition from British schools champion Sam Petty. The two-mile handicap race will feature Hugo Beamish and Matt Baxter.

In the sprints, Anita Punt, London Olympics Black Sticks hockey player, should shine against Kelsey Berryman and Fiona Morrison. All three of them are also down to run the 300m.

Sarah Cowley, also in the 100m, is down to compete in the long jump against Morrison and Berryman. Joseph Millar will compete against Nick Smith, of Scotland, in the 100m and against Alex Jordan in the 300m.

In the field events, Tom Walsh should prevail in the shot put, and Australian Damien Birkenhead could have the edge in the discus throw.

– © Fairfax NZ News


Local Lad Headlines Shot Put Field

25th January 2013

Three-time New Zealand champion Tom Walsh will be the star attraction at the Allcomers Shot Put event at the International Track Meet, New Zealand’s premier track and field event, at Christ’s College Upper Field in Christchurch on Feb 2nd.

Walsh, who has won the New Zealand senior title the last three years in a row – despite still being a month short of his twenty-first birthday – is one of the shining lights of Canterbury athletics, which has seen so many athletes forced to move to other centres for training and competition opportunities.  Walsh said today “I’m looking forward to giving it a good nudge in front of the home crowd, and it will be great to be back there again with all that support.”

He will face a stiff challenge in the shot put event from Australian junior record holder Damien Birkinhead, who took that record from Walsh himself last year.  The 19-year-old was beaten by Walsh at the Lovelock Classic in Timaru earlier this month, and will be looking to get one back in the cauldron of Christ’s College with the big crowd to be brought in close around them in the final stages.

The two are also expected to be among the main players in the discus event earlier in the programme, with stiff competition coming from current NZ champion Marshall Hall, who beat them both in the discus event at the Lovelock Classic.

Event Director Paul Coughlan said today that they would be repeating the experiment of bringing the crowd inside the track to get a close-up view of the action. “The shot put event was such a crowd pleaser last year, and the athletes and the crowd both got such a rush from the close proximity – Tom is such a great ambassador for the sport here in Canterbury and it will be fantastic to see the home crowd get behind him”.

Tickets are now on sale for the International Track Meet, go to the website for details.


Middle Distance Heroes return to Christchurch

25th January 2013

Olympic stars Nick Willis and Lucy van Dalen will headline the middle distance events at the International Track Meet, New Zealand’s premier track and field event, at Christ’s College Upper Field in Christchurch on Feb 2nd.

Willis will race a one-mile, an historic event on the grass track sure to evoke memories of the great races in New Zealand in the 1960’s, including the world mile record set by Peter Snell in Wanganui in 1962.  Following Willis’ scintillating sub-4 performance in Wanganui this week, he has stated that if the conditions are right he will be seeking to repeat the feat on grass.  International competition will come from the Czech Republic’s Petr Kaminski, and Australian teenage sensation Luke Mathews, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Australian record holder Ryan Gregson, who broke through with a stunning victory and Australian junior record in the 3000m at the International Track Meet in 2009.

Van Dalen will compete in the Brian Taylor Memorial 3000m, with a strong challenge to come from Dutch star Susan Kuijken, a triple medallist at NCAA level in the US college system. Both have a 1500m personal best of 4m05.  Behind these two, local interest will centre on Rebekah Greene of Otago who was 7th in the 3000m at last years World Junior Championship, and multiple New Zealand Secondary Schools champion Rosa Flanagan of Canterbury.

Van Dalen, who is best known for her exploits overseas, was looking forward to having some home support.  “I am really excited to be attending the ITM in Christchurch for the first time. I have never run on a grass track before so I can’t wait to give it a go. After being overseas for five years it will also be nice to have a home crowd cheering me on”.

The 800m races, which were a feature of last year’s programme (commemorating the 50th anniversary of Peter Snell’s world 800m record on grass at Lancaster Park in 1962), look like being another opportunity for the rising stars of NZ 800m running to showcase their talents.  In the women’s race, Angie Smit of Canterbury will look to make it three in a row at the International Track Meet, when she takes on Australian Olympian Zoe Buckman, a 1500m semifinalist in London last year.  Smit had a stellar season in 2012 after winning the 800m and the Brian Taylor Memorial Development Award at the International Track Meet, going on to win the New Zealand title in Auckland, and then going within a whisker of qualifying for the Olympics, running 2min00.67 at a race in Belgium in July.

Wanganui’s Brad Mathas, the winner of both the 800m and the Nick Willis Development Award at the 2012 ITM, will be back to defend his 800m title, and will again face competition from around New Zealand including New Zealand Secondary Schools champion Scott Hilliar (Waikato), Matt Lambert (Nelson), and Nelson based Cantabrian Hayden McLaren.

Event Director Paul Coughlan said today “It’s important to us to recognize our Olympic heroes like Nick and Lucy, and give them an opportunity to strut their stuff in front of a home crowd – we know the atmosphere at Christ’s College last year was amazing and that the crowd will get behind them again.  We are also pleased to be able to honour Brian’s legacy in Canterbury athletics, and remember all the victims of the 2011 earthquake, it’s great to have this feature event supported by such top athletes. And of course with Nick in the mile, there’s such a magical tradition and history around that event, especially on grass”.

Tickets are now on sale for the International Track Meet, go to the website for details.


Pole Vault Stars to Soar in City Mall

18th January 2013

Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick will compete in an innovative new pole vault event against international competition, in the heart of Christchurch’s iconic ReStart Container Mall, in the lead-up to the upcoming International Track Meet.

Newdick, currently joint holder of the New Zealand pole vault title as well as finishing 12th in the decathlon at last year’s London Olympics, will headline a star studded lineup of international and local competitors in the event, to be held on Thursday the 31st of January.

American Jake Arnold boasts the highest mark among the international competitors with a personal best of 5.31m, and Australian Stephen Cain and Russian Max Mischchenko are also 5m+ jumpers.  Fellow American Megan Jamerson is the best of the female pole vaulters having leapt over 4.36m, and the Australian duo of Jana Tankosic and Paris McCathrion have also cleared the international benchmark of 4m.

They will be surrounded by the cream of New Zealand talent in the pole vault, and the athletes will stay on to compete in the International Track Meet to be held at Christ’s College Upper Field two days later.  ITM Event Director Paul Coughlan believes that the imagery created by this will be something special in the revitalisation of Christchurch’s central city.  “You will have these phenomenal athletes leaping four and five metres in the air, with the Bridge of Remembrance at one end and the ReStart Mall at the other end – you probably couldn’t get two more iconic images of old Christchurch and new Christchurch in the same place like that”.

General admission to the event will be free and unrestricted, and there will also be a hosted area with complimentary drinks and nibbles served, seated at tables along either side of the 40m long vault runway, for just $20/head.

Newdick, who will also stage the first leg of the Summer Vault series at Mission Bay in Auckland the previous Saturday, said that the athletes were looking forward to being part of such an historic event. “We can’t wait to be down there, it should be a great atmosphere competing in the heart of the city with a good crowd and the hosted tables all around”.

Most of the athletes will then go on to compete in the Quadrathlon event, a new addition to the International Track Meet programme which will see the athletes complete a 100m sprint, long jump, shot put, and finally an 800m run, with the winner determined using the points system used for decathlon and heptathlon.

Further details are available on the International Track Meet website at Space at the Summer Vault will be unrestricted standing room only, so the public should arrive early to get a good spot.  Sales to the ticketed area will be as cash sales on the day, for group reservations contact Paul Coughlan through that webpage.

Tickets are now on sale for the International Track Meet, either online or via a number of ticket outlets, go to the website for details.  Early bird tickets specials apply until Monday the 28th of January, and early purchasers will also enter a prize draw.


Organisers take Punt on pacy Black Stick

9th January 2013

You could say the organisers of next month’s Christchurch’s International Track Meet are taking a punt in the women’s sprint event.

Black Sticks hockey player Anita Punt was confirmed yesterday as a wildcard entry for the meet on the grass track at Christ’s College on February 2.

Punt, a Nelsonian now playing in Wellington, is renowned for her pace on the pitch. But Canterbury track fans will get to see how fast she is without a hockey stick in her hands.

International Track Meet organiser Paul Coughlan said Punt, who was part of the Black Sticks squad that finished fourth at the London Olympic Games, was “reputed in hockey circles to have a rare turn of pace”.

“We’ve heard she’s quicker than many of the Black Sticks men,” he said.

Punt, a 25-year-old striker or midfielder, is “the speedster in the Black Sticks squad, with her times over 10m rating in the top eight of the men’s squad”, according to Hockey New Zealand’s website.

“She is a natural athlete in terms of her fast-twitch fibres and her overall fitness. Anita’s game is naturally built around her blistering pace and she is extremely dangerous on the fast break.”

She will face a baptism of fire in the Chariots of Fire confines of Christ’s College where her sprint rivals will include London Olympics heptathlete Sarah Cowley, two quicksilver Cantabrians, hurdlers Fiona Morrison and Kelsey Berryman, the curent New Zealand junior 100m, 200m and 100m hurdles champion, and Otago’s Larissa Dyke.

Morrison and Punt’s paths have crossed before with Morrison part of the Canterbury Cats hockey team that won their first national women’s title in a decade last year.

The men’s sprint field will pit current New Zealand 100m and 200m champion Joseph Millar against national 400m champion Alex Jordan over the unconventional 300m distance.

Millar lit up the Tauranga track last week, winning the 100m, 200m and 400m treble at the New Year’s Day Twilight meeting. “That was one of the best single-day sprint performances ever seen in this country,” Coughlan said.

Millar will also race in the Christchurch City Council men’s 100m against Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick as part of the new quadrathlon competition being held at the meet.

Competitors will square off in the 100m, long jump, shot put, and 800m, with points allocated as they are in decathlon or heptathlon events to determine the overall winner.

Coughlan plans to announce more entrants soon in various events. He was “excited with the depth of talent that is coming together for the meet again. The atmosphere at Christ’s College last year was electric and we’re looking forward to repeating the experience.”

He said the meet would again feature a mix of Olympians and rising stars.

The meet moved to Christ’s College last year after its traditional venue, QE II Stadium, was destroyed in the February 2011 earthquake.

– © Fairfax NZ News

International Track Meet launch Announcement

5th September 2012

The organisers of New Zealand’s premier track and field meeting, Christchurch’s International Track Meet, announced the launch of the 2013 event to be held again at Christ’s College, on Feb 2nd 2013.

London Olympians Nick Willis, Brent Newdick, and Sarah Cowley have already been confirmed for the meet, and more are expected to follow over the coming weeks and months, showcasing the cream of NZ track and field talent against international opposition once again.

There are a number of exciting new developments, one of which is the inclusion of a multi-event programme to be formally scored for the first time – athletes such as Newdick and Cowley have competed in multiple events at previous iterations of this meet, but for the first time their scores across the events will be collated using the international points system used for decathlon and heptathlon. Newdick said today that he was proud to support the meet, and enjoyed the atmosphere when competing previously in 2009 and 2010. “We are quite far away from the rest of the world and we normally have to travel all the way to Europe to get the same sort of feeling”.

Continuing the development pathway for young athletes that has always been a focus of the event, director and trustee of the meet Paul Coughlan announced that other new events would include a “Future Stars Shot Put” for children, to mirror the popular children’s relay events on the track, and an open handicap mile for non-elite athletes, that would be drawn by ballot from public entries.

The scope of the event would again be run over three days, with the charity luncheon at the Christchurch Casino on Friday the 1st of February, and a wider range of coaching seminars to be held on Sunday the 3rd.  In addition, training camps would be held at Hanmer Springs before the meet, and at Wanaka after the meet, to utilize the world class training and holiday locations the South Island has to offer.

Sir John Walker Proud to Present Olympic Medal

15th February 2011 – New Zealand Olympic Committee

Middle distance legend Sir John Walker is to present the Olympic silver medal to Beijing 1500m medallist Nick Willis at the International Track Meet in Christchurch on February 26th, the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced today.

Willis originally received the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games but was subsequently upgraded to silver following the disqualification of Rashid Ramzi for a doping violation. Willis expressed his delight at being presented with the medal by his boyhood hero, describing it as “a great, great honour”.

The presentation will also be a proud moment for Walker who will be the first New Zealander to present an Olympic medal on home soil. “Christchurch, and QEII in particular, holds special memories for me. That is where it all really started for me after I chased (Tanzanian Filbert) Bayi home for Commonwealth silver in the 1500m with both of us finishing under the world record.

“It’s great to see a Kiwi like Nick doing so well and I’m delighted to be part of what will be a very proud moment for him, his family and all New Zealanders.”

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Kereyn Smith says the Bayi-Walker battle for silver is one of the greatest races of all time and Nick’s Beijing race had millions of Kiwis on the edges of their seats.  “It’s entirely fitting Sir John presents Nick with Olympic silver at QEII stadium. It’s an opportunity for us all recall some of our nation’s proudest moments.”

Walker also won bronze in the 800m at QEII at the 1974 Commonwealth Games before going on to break the world record for the mile in a time of 3m50sec in 1975 then setting a world record in the 2000m that would stand for more than a decade. He won the Olympic 1500m gold medal at Montreal in 1976, added a second Commonwealth 1500m silver medal at Brisbane in 1982, and in 1985 became the first man in history to clock up 100 sub-4min miles.

Willis will be seeking to follow in his idol’s footsteps in the International Track Meet, when he races in the 1500m against top Americans Nick Symmonds and Will Leer, British runner Lee Emmanuel, and two high profile Australians who performed here last year, Beijing Olympian Jeremy Roff and one of their next big hopes, rising star James Nipperess.

With the London Olympic Games just over 500 days away, Willis will be one of the highest profile New Zealand athletes expected to be selected into the 200-strong team.

Willis’ silver medal will be presented as part of the Opening Ceremony of the International Track Meet at QEII stadium in Christchurch on 26th February at 6.00pm. New Zealand IOC member Barry Maister will lead the medal presentation.

Organisers anticipate high demand for gate sales so people are advised to get there early as this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an Olympic medal presented will go ahead at 6pm sharp.  Gates open from 3pm for the pre-programme events, and discounted Early-Bird tickets are currently on sale through the meet website, at the QEII Swim Shop, or at any Christchurch branch of the Shoe Clinic or Smiths Sports Shoes.

Marathon Coaching Clinic Doubles Up

14th February 2011 – International Track Meet

Organisers of the third annual International Track Meet being staged at QEII Stadium in Christchurch on Feb 26th announced today that the coaching clinic for marathon and distance running enthusiasts will now be a double bill, with legendary American athlete and coach Alberto Salazar also participating in the session, along with his compatriot Ron Warhurst.

Salazar will be attending the International Track Meet to watch his young charge, Galen Rupp, attempt the New Zealand Allcomers record for the 10,000m set by Dick Tayler in winning the gold medal at the 1974 Commonwealth Games at the same venue. Salazar is best known to New Zealanders as an endurance athlete himself, winning the New York Marathon three times in succession from 1980 to 1982, sharing the winner’s rostrum in 1981 with New Zealander Allison Roe, who won the women’s race.  He also won the Boston Marathon in 1982, in the famous “Duel in the Sun” with compatriot Dick Beardsley. Salazar dominated the US road running scene around that time, and went on to win the 90km Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 1994.  He now coaches a number of elite American athletes, including Rupp, US mile record holder Alan Webb, and double Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, 9th in the marathon at Beijing, 2009 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medallist and US record holder for 5000m.

The seminar, held in conjunction with the Bill Richards Marathon Trust, has been shifted from the Sunday morning after the event to 6pm the Friday night before, and will have a presentation as planned from iconic University of Michigan team mentor Warhurst. Warhurst is well known in this country as the coach of Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis, and is also responsible for training many top marathoners including Boston Marathon winners Greg Meyer (1983, 2hr09) and Lisa Weidenbach (1985, 2hr33).  Following a short refreshment break, Salazar will then lead a further session, after which the two will combine on stage for a question & answer panel session.

Relay Races Rule at International Meet

11th February 2011 – International Track Meet

New Zealand’s premier track and field event adds some new flavour to the teams aspect of athletics with the inclusion of high profile relay races at the International Track Meet, to be held in Christchurch on Feb 26th.

The international relay events will be the Men’s and Women’s 4x400m relays, featuring teams from Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. The New Zealand teams will involve North Island vs South Island selections and promote the traditional inter-island rivalry. New Zealand has some very good, young 400m runners progressing through the grades including 3 of the team who were 3rd at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Pune, India in 2008 and are now all progressing to senior ranks.  Australia has a strong history in relay running, and are sending 2 male and 2 female teams from their high profile development squads. The New Caledonia team will be chasing a National Record.

There is also the added incentive for the Kiwis in the race of the possibility of qualifying a New Zealand team for selection for the World Universities Games in China in August. Many of these athletes are now in tertiary education and eligible for these games – which are the second biggest multiple sports games behind the Olympics.

One of the major purposes of the International Track Meet is to develop local talent, and to provide a pathway through the sport for our budding stars of the future.  To achieve this, the international programme will also include a series of 4x100m relay races for boys and girls aged between 10 and 14,  as well as the ever popular Secondary Schools Mile Relays.  These were among the biggest crowd pleasers in 2009, and are back on the programme for 2011.

The meet will also include newly crowned Halberg Awards Sportswoman of the Year winner Valerie Adams, taking on all comers in the shot put, including the Delhi Commonwealth Games, Men’s shot put bronze medallist Dale Stevenson of Australia, and decathlon silver medallist from New Zealand, Brent Newdick. Also in the field will be the 2009 and 2010 winners, Jerram Huston & Tom Walsh, and 1996 Olympic Games representative for Samoa, Chris Mene.

Dick Tayler’s 10,000m Record Under Fire

1st February 2011 – International Track Meet

The International Track Meet is pleased to announce today that leading American distance runner Galen Rupp will travel to NZ with his coach, the legendary Alberto Salazar, to race a special 10,000m event to be added to the programme on Feb 26th at QEII Stadium.

Rupp, who has a career best 10,000m time of 27:10.74, is likely to shatter the New Zealand Allcomers record, set by Dick Tayler on that unforgettable day in 1974 when he captured the hearts of the nation in racing to victory on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games at the same venue.  Tayler’s time of 27min46.4sec from 37 years ago is still the fastest 10,000m ever run in New Zealand and ranks as the 5th best all time by any Kiwi athlete.  It even stood the Games record right up until 2002, when it was broken by just 1 second, by Kenyan Wilberforce Talel.

American marathon legend Salazar first noticed Rupp when he set junior national and American high school records, and as his coach has ensured his talent has been realised. The 24 year old Rupp made his global senior debut at the 2007 World Championships finishing 11th in the 10,000m then finished 13th at the Beijing Olympics, and 8th at the 2009 World Championships. He lowered his personal best to 27:10.74 in May last year.

Top competition is expected from the leading male distance runners in Australia and New Zealand, many of whom will be preparing for the World Cross Country Championships in Spain four weeks later.  There will also be several athletes on both sides of the Tasman looking for an opportunity to chase the 2011 World Athletics Championships qualifying standards of 27:40 (A) or 28:00 (B), after humid conditions prevented fast times at the Zatopek 10,000m in Melbourne in December.

The Supporters Club 10,000m – made possible by special support from Nike and from athletics enthusiasts associated with the meet through the new Supporters Club framework – will be the last event on the programme, which also features New Zealand sporting heroes Valerie Adams, Nick Willis and Nikki Hamblin who will all face top class international competition.  Event director Craig Motley said “This is an exciting opportunity to see a truly world class distance runner in action. By scheduling the race at the end of the programme, in the early evening, we should have the best possible chance of cooler calm conditions which will help with fast times”.

As previously reported, Willis will also be the subject of an historic ceremony at the commencement of the meet, in which his newly minted Olympic Silver Medal will be formally presented by representatives of the New Zealand Olympic Committee – probably the only time in history an Olympic medal will be presented on New Zealand soil.

Olympic Silver Medal to be presented in Christchurch

19th January 2011 – NZOC / International Track Meet

The New Zealand Olympic Committee is pleased to confirm that 1500m athlete Nick Willis will be presented with his Beijing silver medal at the International Track Meet in Christchurch on Feb 26th at QEII Stadium.

Willis finished third in the glamour event of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, but was subsequently upgraded to second following the disqualification of the gold medallist, Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain.

The original silver medal that arrived had previously been presented to second place finisher Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, and showed signs of wear. The New Zealand Olympic Committee asked the IOC to mint a new silver medal for Willis which was subsequently done. While the medal arrived in NZ in mid 2010, Willis had expressed the wish to be presented with the medal in front of a strong home crowd, so the presentation will now occur at the International Track Meet in Christchurch, in front of an expected crowd of over five thousand fans.

Willis was delighted when the presentation ceremony details were confirmed. “Having the medal presented here will be a great honour.  Considering the circumstances that have led to this point, I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate the experience I had that night in Beijing.  To share the medal with the country is what motivated me down that home straight run, and now I get to share the medal ceremony with everyone back home”, he said yesterday.

Kereyn Smith, the Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee said “After a long wait, we are delighted to be able to present this very special medal to Nick in front of his NZ friends and family and an enthusiastic crowd at the International Track Meet.”

Meet Director Craig Motley said that the occasion was unique in New Zealand sporting history – the first and possibly only time that an Olympic medal would ever be presented in New Zealand.  “It will get the meet off to a roaring start, and get the crowd pumped up for an exciting evening of track and field action, with New Zealand’s best athletes taking on the world.”

Willis will compete in his favoured 1500m distance at the meet, in the same stadium where his boyhood hero, Kiwi legend Sir John Walker, famously won the Commonwealth silver medal in 1974, chasing Tanzanian Filbert Bayi all the way in a race in which both runners broke the existing world record.  Willis’ main goal in the race on Feb 26thwill be to win the race in front of the home crowd, and to secure a qualifying time for the World Championships in Korea this August.  However he will surely have one eye on the times set 37 years before by Bayi and Walker, which still stand today as the New Zealand Allcomers and Resident records respectively.

Factbox: Men’s 1500m

Willis is New Zealand’s sixth Olympic medallist in the event, after the three gold medals won by Jack Lovelock (1936), Peter Snell (1964), and John Walker (1976), and two bronze medals won by John Davies (1964) and Rod Dixon (1972).

New Zealand Records:

National (by a NZ athlete anywhere)      Nick Willis, 3:32.17, Paris 2006

Allcomers (by any athlete in NZ)                               Filbert Bayi (Tanzania), 3:32.16, Christchurch 1974

Resident (by a NZ athlete in NZ)                                John Walker, 3:32.52, Christchurch 1974

International Track Meet Record              Ryan Gregson (Australia), 3:41.69, 2010

World Championships Qualifying Standard           3:35.00

Valerie Adams – Destination Christchurch

10th January 2011 – International Track Meet


New Zealand’s premier track and field event received a boost this week with the announcement that the country’s best known athlete, Valerie Adams, will be contesting the Shot Put event at the International Track Meet, to be held in Christchurch on Feb 26th.

Adams is the current Olympic Champion, double World Champion, and double Commonwealth Champion, and has also previously been World Indoor Champion, as well as World Champion at Junior and Youth level.  She adds to the list of current household names in New Zealand track and field to have competed at this event, joining former World Discus Champion Beatrice Faumuina, Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis, and double Commonwealth silver medallist Nikki Hamblin.  Adams, Willis, and Hamblin, NZ’s highest profile track & field medallists at the Delhi Games last year and contenders for the upcoming Halberg awards, will all be competing at the International Track Meet in Christchurch next month.

Adams will compete in the crowd-pleasing “Allcomers Shot Put” event, which pits competitors from different grades, ages, and genders against each other – something made possible by the fact that each hurl a different weight, which should provide the world’s best shotputter with some healthy competition.  In 2009 and 2010 the event has been won by national secondary school champions, beating top senior and junior athletes, Paralympians, rugby players, netballers, and other sporting code representatives.  This year the event goes a step further, introducing a public qualifying round that gives the ordinary people of New Zealand a chance to stake their claim to compete against their heroes in the premier Allcomers event on the night.

“I’m very excited about coming to Christchurch. I love competing there and that’s where I first broke the 20 metre mark at QEII. I could not think of a better meet to kick off my 2011 campaign” Adams said.

Meet Director Craig Motley said this week that the inclusion of Adams is an exciting development for the International Track Meet and for the sport of track and field, with the public of New Zealand getting a rare chance to see our international stars who mostly perform overseas competing on home territory.  “This is particularly true off the back of such fantastic results in Delhi by these athletes and others – it will be great to see them perform at home with some real competition.  Valerie is unquestionably the most successful NZ athlete of the past decade, it will be a great treat for the fans to not just see her, but have a chance to compete against her.”

Adams’ strongest competition in the Allcomers Shot Put so far will be the 22-year-old Australian Dale Stevenson, who set a personal best of 19.99m in winning the Men’s Bronze medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games last year. More competitors in the Clash of the Codes format are expected to be announced in due course.

World Renowned Athletics Coach coming to Christchurch

22nd December 2010 – International Track Meet

Organisers of the annual International Track Meet being staged at QEII Stadium in Christchurch on Feb 26thannounced today that the event will be enhanced by world renowned coach Ron Warhurst, who will conduct a coaching clinic in Christchurch the following day.

Warhurst is probably best known to New Zealanders as the coach of New Zealand’s fastest ever 1500m runner, Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth gold and bronze medallist Nick Willis.  However Warhurst is a legend in track & field circles in the USA, where Willis is now based, training many top Americans and Canadians including the USA’s fastest ever miler Alan Webb, Boston Marathon winners Greg Meyer (1983, 2hr09) and Lisa Weidenbach (1985, 2hr33), 2006 Commonwealth 1500m silver medallist (behind Willis) Nate Brannen, and three-time US Indoor Champion Rob Myers, who also ran in the International Track Meet in Christchurch in 2009.

Warhurst will come to Christchurch to offer tips on predominantly marathon running, where he has coaching credentials with both men and women at the very top of the sport internationally.  As well as Meyer and Weidenbach, he has also coached 1986 US champion Bill Donakowski (2hr10) and 1981 Detroit Marathon winner Mike McGuire.  Meyer also won the Detroit and Chicago Marathons, and set world records on the road for 15km and 10mile.  Weidenbach also won the Chicago Marathon twice (1988-89, best time 2hr28), the Hokkaido Marathon in Japan, and the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis.

While in Christchurch, Warhurst will be looking forward to watching New Zealand’s premier track meet as it continues to grow in its third year.  In particular he will watch Willis, arguably his most successful pupil, racing against a field of top Australian and American athletes who will all be looking to post a qualifying time for the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in August.

Tickets to the Ron Warhurst coaching seminar will be available through the International Track Meet website

Warhurst has recently retired as head cross-country coach after 35 years and head track coach from 2000-2008 at the University of Michigan – an esteemed institution which has produced 65 Olympic gold medals, and 135 Olympic medals in total, 16 of which were earned by one man alone – swimming superstar Michael Phelps.

Middle distance Heroes Confirmed for Christchurch Meet

5th December 2010 – International Track Meet

Kiwi heroes Nick Willis and Nikki Hamblin, 1500m medallists at the Delhi Commonwealth Games this year, will look to the International Track Meet in Christchurch on Feb 26th to kick-start their campaigns at that distance in 2011.

Willis, second in the feature 800m here in 2010, will headline the men’s 1500m in an attempt to secure the 3min35s World Championships qualifying time early in the season.  This will enable him to then focus on racing for the rest of the season, rather than chasing times.  With a fast pace guaranteed by the organisers for that purpose, the usual host of local and international stars hoping to also achieve a fast time are expected to follow Willis to the meet.  Willis said this week “I am excited to be returning to Christchurch for the ITM, to run the A standard for the 2011 World Championships.  I have had a great deal of interest from international runners to come and join me in this race, so it should be a great chance to provide New Zealand with an international 1500m race again.”

Hamblin began to make waves on the NZ scene in 2009, winning the 800m at the International Track Meet before going on to represent NZ at the World Championships in Berlin.  She then burst to prominence in 2010 with a National record in the 1500m, with her headline-grabbing pair of silver medals in the 800m and 1500m in Delhi.  She will race the imperial equivalent of the distance, the mile – which still captures imaginations worldwide despite all other commonly raced track events now being metric – in an attempt on the 23-year-old New Zealand record of 4min30.5s held by Christine Pfitzinger of Auckland. Hamblin said this week “As I build from the 2009 World Championships and Delhi I plan to race sparsely over the coming New Zealand domestic season. The International Track Meet is the best meet in New Zealand and will give me the advantage to race on home soil and provides an excellent competition environment racing against the top Aussies and the likes of Hannah Newbould (World Junior Representative). When asked if she was targeting the NZ Resident or National record she responded “Not getting many opportunities to race a Mile I will be aiming high – I like to set high goals.”

Hannah Newbould has also confirmed she will be attempting the 27 year old New Zealand under 19 national record held by Sue Bruce. Newbould ran her 1500m PB of 4.14:54 last July at the Victoria Track Classic in Canada and was the first kiwi home at the 2010 International Track Meet 1500m in third place.

Organisers say this is the first major announcement with many more to come, as they hope to showcase more of NZ’s Commonwealth Games stars competing on home soil against top quality international opposition.


Men’s 1500m records

National record – Nick Willis, Wellington, 3min32.17, Paris France 2006

Resident Record – John Walker, Auckland, 3min32.52, Christchurch 1974

Allcomers Record – Filbert Bayi, Tanzania, 3min32.16, Christchurch 1974

Meet Record – Ryan Gregson, Australia, 3min41.69, 2010

Women’s Mile records

National Record – Christine Pfitzinger, Auckland, 4min30.5, Oregon USA 1987

Resident Record – Anne Audain, Auckland, 4min33.93, Auckland 1983

Allcomers Record – Mary Decker, USA, 4min21.7, Auckland 1980

Meet Record – Kaila McKnight, Australia, 4min39.07, 2009

U/19 National Record – Sue Bruce, Canterbury, 4 min 37.89, Christchurch 1983

Women’s 1500m records

National Record – Nikki Hamblin, Cambridge, 4 min 05.93, Heusden 2010

Resident Record – Toni Hodgkinson, Auckland, 4.07.33, Wanganui 2000

Allcomers Record – Mary Decker, USA, 4.04.1, Auckland 1980

World class Track and Field returns to Christchurch

19th October 2010 – International Track Meet

Sports fans will soon have the opportunity to see many of the medal-winning Delhi Commonwealth Games track and field athletes in action in Christchurch early next year with the announcement today of a 2011 date for the International Track Meet.  The earlier date of 26th February also aligns the event with international meets in Australia and increases the possibility of enticing some of the sports elite international athletes over to compete in Christchurch.

With 8 track and field medals, the New Zealand team’s performance in Delhi was the best at a games outside this country since 1966, and ITM organisers expect that the interest generated by the successful athletes will mean that sports fans are keen to see their heroes compete in Christchurch during the build-up to the 2012 Olympics.

 “Most of the Delhi athletes have already competed at the International Track Meet before, and have expressed their intentions to return, along with some exciting overseas stars” said meet director Craig Motley.     “With the IPC (Parasport) World Championships also being held at QEII in January 2011, we are expecting a real surge of interest and enthusiasm for watching such amazing athletes in action here in Christchurch.”

Corporate hosting packages are on sale now, with preferential seating and general admission tickets to go on sale in December.

Archived 2010 Articles


Aussie puts heat on Nick Willis

By TONY SMITH – The Press Last updated 05:00 19/03/2010

Aussie puts heat on Nick Willis

DON SCOTT/The Press ON THE UP: Jeff Riseley, of Australia, leads Kiwi Nick Willis during the 800m at Christchurch’s QEII international track meet last night. Australian Nick Bromley was third.

Olympic medallist Nick Willis now knows he has a race on his hands to retain his Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medal after his second middle-distance defeat this month to rising Australian star Jeff Riseley.

Willis tried vainly to ride home on the famous QEII roar last night but Riseley was too strong over the final 50m of an epic 800m tussle at the International Track Meet in Christchurch.

The Australian, who ran his first sub-four minute mile to win last year’s Christchurch meet, pronounced Christchurch his happy hunting ground and predicted “a good rivalry with [Willis] over the next four to five years”.

“Riseley’s the man on the up. He’ll definitely be one of my main competition at the Commonwealth Games [in New Delhi in October],” said Willis.

He admitted it “hurt emotionally” to lose to the 23-year-old Australian again for the second time in a fortnight after Riseley’s 1500m Melbourne Track Classic triumph.

“This hurt more, because I wanted to do something for the New Zealand fans.”

Riseley, who prefers the 1500m, said it was a great confidence booster to beat Willis twice in Commonwealth Games year.

“I’ve really let him know I’m after him. He’s established himself as one of the best milers in the world, he showed that with his silver medal in Beijing. He’s the one that I’m after.”

Willis had hoped to run around his personal best of 1min 45.54sec but Riseley, who slowed a little near the end, won in 1min 47.75sec, with Willis at 1min 48.12sec – more than 3sec slower than Peter Snell’s 1964 New Zealand record – set on grass – which Willis is still a little “in awe of”.

Riseley made a savvy move down the back straight last night, which Willis covered but the local hero “just didn’t quite have that last 50m”.

“I was out wide in lane three with 150 to go, which wasn’t ideal but he ran very well and he’s obviously got an extra couple of yards on me at this time of year. He beat me by about the same margin in Melbourne. There’s work to be done, it’s humbling but that only makes you more hungry.”

Willis, competing before his extended family, said it was “great to hear the crowd get in behind us in the last 80”.

“I was just frustrated I couldn’t respond and give them something extra [to cheer].” He had tried to get the “crowd pumped up” while hoping they wouldn’t think “who’s that show-off”. “But there was no showing off. I was just frustrated, I couldn’t respond.

“Obviously I want to be the best. But that’s sport, you’ve got to take the losses, it makes the victories even more memorable,” the Kiwi Olympian said.

But Riseley should be warned. Willis said Commonwealth Games success would “come down to who can time their training best” with October falling a good month or two after the regular season.

Meanwhile, Australian world champion Dani Samuels beat two-time former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Beatrice Faumuina in an absorbing discus duel.

Samuels, 21, hurled 63.38m on her sixth and final throw after three earlier 60m-plus distances.

Faumuina, 35, had four throws over 59m before biffing her last attempt out to 61.10m. “That’s just 1cm off [my season’s best],” an animated Faumuina said.

Samuels said she had enjoyed throwing against Faumuina on her home turf. “It’s great to have that international competition. She threw 61.10 on her last throw and that definitely pushed me to 63,” said the Sydneysider.

Faumuina ‘rapt’ over clash with world champ

By TONY SMITH – The Press 19th March 2010Former world discus champion Beatrice Faumuina says tonight’s tussle in Christchurch with world titleholder Dani Samuels will be her biggest in New Zealand for 12 years.

“The last time in women’s discus that we had someone of that calibre come over here was in 1998 when [Atlanta Olympic Games] silver medallist Natalya Sadova, of Russia, was here for the Robin Tait Classic,” Faumuina said yesterday.

“I’m really rapt that the sponsors are really supporting track and field and have given us an opportunity to compete at home against a world champion. I don’t think, in women’s discus, we’ve seen that for quite some time.”

Twelve years ago, Faumuina toppled Sadova – the 2004 Olympic champion who was later banned for taking steroids – and set a New Zealand residents’ record of 67.58 metres.

But the 1997 world champion will have to be at her best at Queen Elizabeth II Park to eclipse rising star Samuels. The 21-year-old Sydneysider became the youngest world discus champion in Berlin last year with a then-personal best of 65.44m.

Both athletes have already met the qualifying targets for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.

Faumuina won the Commonwealth gold in 1998 and 2002 after a silver in Victoria in 1994. Samuels, former world junior champion, won the Commonwealth bronze medal in Melbourne in 2006 as an 18-year-old, beating Faumuina into fourth place.

She is looking forward to meeting Faumuina on New Zealand soil. “Beatrice has been coming over to Sydney since I was about 16 to compete at our nationals and our track classic meets, so it’s good to come and compete against her here.”

Both athletes are in good shape but are acutely aware they have a long season ahead of them before the Commonwealth Games.

Faumuina, 35, has had a consistent summer, several times throwing over 60m, with with a season-best of 61.11m

Samuels had a month off after her European season – “A bit longer than I wanted to, but my trainer told me to have that long off” – and later suffered a wrist injury.

She said she had been “throwing quite well”, registering a near-60m distance at the Zatopek Classic in Sydney last December. She set a personal best of 65.84m – 40 centimetres better than her Berlin world championships effort – at the Sydney Track Classic last month.

“I was quite happy with that!” she said.

Samuels rated her efforts in Melbourne a fortnight ago as “the most consistent” of her career, culminating in a top throw of 62.97m.

It all points to a challenging night in the circle for Faumuina, who seems fitter and fresher than she did at the Beijing Olympics 18 months ago.

Faumuina attributes her form to “staying at home last winter” to focus on fine-tuning her technique with coach Ross Dallow, who became her mentor on Boxing Day 2007.

After “16 or 17 years” of international competition, it had been “like learning to walk again”, she said. But the Aucklander believes, for the first time in her long career, that she now “understands the mechanics of how to throw” and is reaping the benefits.

Faumuina, who is now working and studying in Auckland, will not begin competing overseas until June.

But she said her fitness and training quality had “improved a lot” under Dallow and she was “just jazzed” about the season ahead.

Queen Bea faces showdown

•  Steve Kilgallon – Sunday Star Times. Sunday 21st February.

BEATRICE FAUMUINA will get the first big test of her resolve, and her Commonwealth Games ambitions, with a local showdown next month with Australian world champion Dani Samuels.
Samuels yesterday agreed to compete in the discus at the international track meet in Christchurch on March 18 – the only chance for the Commonwealth’s two best-ranked throwers to meet before Delhi.
Faumuina’s coach Ross Dallow said having Samuels come across the Tasman to meet Faumuina suited their preparations perfectly. “One thing Beatrice has done in the past is pop overseas for a meeting and be undercooked and jetlagged . . . the lesson has been that unless there is something positive at the other end towards any future development, it’s better to give it a miss, that’s why we are pleased Dani is coming from Australia, ” he said.
Faumuina, aiming for her fifth Commonwealth Games, was throwing last night as an invited guest at the under-21 international between Australia and New Zealand in Auckland, but is skipping this week’s Sydney Classic – where Samuels will compete – to start another heavy training block.
“Beatrice is in a very good head space, ” says Dallow. “Her performances to date are showing her hard work and a solid winter and we’re both very encouraged by her results.”
Track meet organiser Leyton Tremain begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting said matching Faumuina and Samuels met his aim of finding quality overseas competition for leading Kiwis. “Beatrice is in a situation where she is not being challenged domestically, and Dani is in the same situation in Australia – bringing them together should create a good competition.”
Samuels, 21, was bronze medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, just ninth at the Olympics, but became the youngest-ever world champion in Berlin last year when she threw a personal best 65.44 metres.
The meet is the first time Faumuina, who has two Commonwealth Games golds and one silver and was the 1997 world champion, will be sighted in Christchurch since 2006. This season, her personal best is 61.11m, over 2m short of Samuel’s season best, but she has surpassed the Games qualifying standard of 56m six times already.
The organisers have found solid 800m opposition for Nick Willis in Aussies Jeff Riseley and Nick Bromley and Irishman David Campbell and in the 200m, have added Irish 400m record-holder Joanne Cuddihy to offer competition for Monique Williams.

World Champion confirmed for ITM

12th February 2010

– Paul Coughlan

Former world discus champion Beatrice Faumuina is the latest international superstar to confirm an appearance at the International Track Meet on March 18 th at QEII Stadium in Christchurch .

Faumuina, the first New Zealander to win a world championships gold medal with her victory in the discus in 1997, is one of the established superstars of New Zealand athletics, and has had an extremely strong season in 2010 so far, with consistently her best performances for several years in winning the Capital Classic in Wellington, the Sylvia Potts Classic in Hastings, and the Cooks Classic in Wanganui, all with throws well beyond the Commonwealth Games qualifying distance of 56m. She has now broken the qualifying standard six times so far this season, with a best performance of 61.11m in Wellington last month. She will be hoping to repeat her 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medals later this year in New Delhi , and is looking forward to continuing her rich vein of form at the ITM as she consistently throws further than the 60m mark.

Faumuina said today “I am looking forward to coming to compete in the International Meet in Christchurch , this is the first time the discus has been on the programme at this meet. QEII is such a great venue, and always gets a lot of public support”. It will be the first time she has competed in Christchurch since 2006.

Meet Director Craig Motley said “We are very pleased to secure an athlete of the calibre of Beatrice, she has been one of NZ track and field’s shining lights for the last 15 or more years and is clearly back in excellent shape. She really hasn’t been pushed this year, so we will certainly be looking to bring a strong international performer for her to compete against, to bring out the best in her.”

Faumuina was ranked third in the Commonwealth in 2009, and on performances so far this year would now be up to number two, behind the current world champion, Australian Dani Samuels.

Williams back for Christchurch meet

11th February 2010

– The Press

New Zealand sprinter Monique Williams will return to Chrsitchurch for the 200 meters at the international track meet on March 18, the same meet where she set a resident record for that distance last year. Williams will face competition from Irish 400m record holder Joanne Cuddihy, a Canberra-based doctor who has recorded 23.33 seconds for he 200m. The others in the field are New Zealand Olympic heptathlete Rebecca Wardell, and Auckland’s Andrea Koenen the second-fastest Kiwi this season. Wardell will be busy, with four events on her card, as she builds up for the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October. At last years meeting Williams ran 23.26sec to break the 27-year-old national residents record held by Kim Robertson. She ran 22.90sec at last August’s world championships in Berlin. Beijing Olympic 1500m silver medalist Nick Willis will also run at the meeting.

10th January 2010

Willis opts for speed in Christchurch

– The Press

Olympic 1500m bronze – soon to be silver – medallist Nick Willis has confirmed that he will compete in the feature 800m event at the 2010 International Track Meet in Christchurch on March 18th at QE2 Stadium. This will be a key step in the Kiwi star’s build-up to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October, where he will seek to become the first athlete since Peter Snell in 1962 to win the 800m-1500m double.

Organisers have also confirmed that stars from the 2009 event who will be returning to compete are the mile winner Jeff Riseley, 3000m winner Ryan Gregson, and Irishman David Campbell, who finished third in the mile. In addition to these athletes, four-time Australian champion Nick Bromley will be challenging Willis in the 800m, and rising Australian stars Jeremy Roff and James Nipperess are competing in the 1500m.

Meet Director Craig Motley said “We are extremely excited at how the 2010 event is coming together, and it is promising to be bigger and better than 2009. We are getting a lot of interest from extremely high profile athletes in a range of events, and being a Commonwealth Games year a lot of athletes will look to a meet like this to chase qualifying performances.”

Although last year the main middle distance events were the mile & 3000m, the 2010 programme for both men & women is structured around championship distances (800m, 1500m, 5000m) to provide opportunities for athletes to target Commonwealth Games qualifying times.
Willis is currently in New Zealand for warm weather training, before returning to the US to race indoors in February. He will then return to Christchurch in March for the International Track Meet on the 18th and the national championships 8 days later.

15th December 2009

Athletics New Zealand

– Athletics in Action Article Dec 2009

•  Leyton Tremain begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The meet that bills itself with the slogan “Track and Field at its best in New Zealand” – Christchurch’s International Track Meet is returning for 2010. The International Track Meet (ITM) is the new comer to the domestic track and field scene here in New Zealand.

The ITM sets out to help promote our sport and to help facilitate our kiwi athletes’ development. The event targets a mainstream audience and provides an alternative to the traditional Rugby, Netball and Cricket that generally dominate our sports entertainment. In its first year, a crowd of 3000 spectators helped the athletes achieve some great performances while thousands more enjoyed highlights on Sky Television.

The meet is proud to showcase a full spectrum of the sport outlining a pathway from 10 year old Colgate Games level competitors through to NZ Olympic Medalists and representatives. Events are chosen and tailored around our world ranked athletes and the meet is constructed to provide a stimulating competitive environment at home for our athletes to be challenged.

A successful debut in 2009 witnessed 23 athletes from five nations compete against many of New Zealand’s best developing and established athletes resulting in two New Zealand and one Australian record. A large number of personal bests were also achieved throughout the full spectrum from junior athletes to men’s mile winner Jeff Riseley (3:54.24) and runner up, compatriot Collis Birmingham who took a full 5 seconds off his PB running 3:54.36.

The local organising committee (LOC) is confident that the 2010 ITM on Thursday the 18th of March will be bigger and better. The meet will follow a similar format to last year with an emphasis on increasing the depth of international competitors across more fields. The long and high jumps will be awarded points as per the IAAF scoring tables allowing females to compete head to head with their male counterparts to really keep each other on their toes.

2010 will see the introduction of an U23 1500m that will pit top juniors against young senior athletes and bridge the gap in performance required to make the elite middle distance races and serves to further reinforce the pathway philosophy incorporated into this meet.

Another initiative this year is guaranteed ITM entry spots for high performers at key meetings throughout the track and field season. For example the winner of the women’s 800m at the Sylvia Potts Classic will get a start in the ITM women’s 800m and the winner of the NZ Secondary Schools SB 1500m will get a start in the U/23 1500m. For a full break down of qualifying races for guaranteed starts check out this website (entry standards).

Nick Willis has confirmed his support for the 2010 ITM and is a key driver behind the events inception. Willis will compete in either the 800 or 1500m. He will decide which event he will contest at the completion of his preparation early in the New Year. Willis will complete his preparation in NZ working alongside his brother Steve with their Kiwirun project. After being sidelined with injury days before last year’s meet Willis is looking forward to competing in Christchurch and will return to the States for a couple of races prior to the ITM. Willis the reigning 1500m Commonwealth Games Champion is aware of the importance of his build up to the Commonwealth Games.

Athlete Liaison Manager, Craig Motley has received a very strong level of interest from across the Tasman. “Last year Australians dominated the distance events winning both elite miles and the men’s 3000m. This was cemented with 2nd places in both men’s and women’s 800m, the men’s elite mile and 3000m. With 3 of these 7 athletes recording personal bests many more are expected to travel”.

With the ITM only 10 days prior to our National Championships we are talking to international athletes about basing themselves in Canterbury for that period. The LOC in conjunction with Athletics Canterbury will also be holding an interclub prior to the ITM and athletes from around New Zealand are encouraged to participate if they are yet to achieve the performance standards required for entry into the ITM. The interclub provides an opportunity for enhanced competition with athletes travelling from different centres as they continue to develop before being inspired watching track and field at its best in New Zealand.

25th November 2009

Nick Willis to run in Christchurch event


Olympic 1500m medallist Nick Willis has been confirmed to run in Christchurch next year, although in which event remains uncertain.

Willis has told the International Track Meet organisers he will contest either the 800m or 1500m at QEII on March 18. The Kiwi athlete is expected to be upgraded from the bronze to the silver medal following the International Olympics Committee’s decision to strip Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi of the gold for doping in Beijing in 2008.

“He’s not 100 per cent sure at this stage what events he will be in, but he has confirmed he will be competing at the meeting. He will wait and decide that in early January,” meet organiser Leyton Tremain begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting said. “I guess he will see how his preparation goes.”

Willis is expected to spend about six weeks in New Zealand during the summer and will train with the Kiwirun tour in the North Island before returning to the United States.

There he is likely to enter the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on February 6.

The 26-year-old will also race at the national championships in Christchurch 10 days after the International Track Meet.

Willis was eager to compete in the International Mile race this year but was forced to withdraw because of a hamstring injury.

“He expressed a desire to want to compete in New Zealand and to bring athletes of his calibre to our shores, so that is why we are speaking to him and why the concept arose,” Tremain said.

“It is a chance to race at home and an opportunity to help grow and develop the sport,” he said.Willis might be wise not to hold his breath regarding an Olympic medal upgrade because Ramzi can still appeal via the Court of Arbitration.

Olympic gold medallist Valerie Vili is unlikely to enter the Christchurch event because of a crammed programme.

The shot putter is scheduled to attend the world indoor championships in Qatar the weekend before and the chances of being ready to compete again following a quick turnaround seem unlikely.

“She is someone we would love to get to our meeting, but unfortunately she is not competing until Sunday evening and our event is on the Thursday. Unfortunately, with all the travel there is not going to be enough time for her to be fresh enough to compete,” Tremain said.

More than 3000 spectators were estimated to have attended last season’s event, which broke even.

A volunteer organising committee runs the event on behalf of Athletics Canterbury.

Twenty-three athletes from five countries attended last season and it is hoped more will attend next year.

18th October 2009

Where there’s a Willis there’s a way

•  Steve Kilgallon – Sunday Star Times

NEW ZEALAND’S biggest track meeting in more than a decade is back on the calendar for 2010, with Olympic bronze medallist Nick Willis again involved in attracting world-class overseas athletes to compete in this country.

Christchurch’s International Track Meet last March drew more than 3000 spectators to QEII Stadium – the best turnout for an athletics event in New Zealand in nearly 20 years.

Willis was pivotal in securing several top Americans and while he withdrew, injured, days before the event, he still fronted to sign autographs.

The meet broke even, prompting organiser Leyton Tremain begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting to confirm yesterday that it would be held again in 2010 at the same venue on Thursday, March 18-10 days before the national athletics championships, also at QEII Stadium.

Last year, 23 athletes from five countries came here, including several top Australians and leading British middle- distance runner Andy Baddeley, and Tremain expects an increased overseas field next year, based on feedback from top Melbourne-based Kiwi 10km specialist Jason Woolhouse.

“Rumours and word of mouth is that there is a lot of interest,” says Tremain, who will begin approaching athletes this week.

“People have been asking what our plans are . . . and we hope that the meeting will be bigger and better. Some of those Australian guys who didn’t travel and were reserving judgement in year one are now keen to come over.”

Tremain says several athletes used last year’s meet as a springboard to more success. Jeff Riseley, who ran a personal best at the meet, went on to run a 3min 51sec mile in Europe while Collis Birmingham, second in the mile, later broke the Australian 10km record.

But Tremain says the purpose of the meet is to create strong fields for emerging Kiwi athletes to test themselves against and he plans to tailor- make races to suit runners such as Kiwi 200m runner Monique Williams. He says he won’t expand the programme but is targeting much deeper fields.

“We’ve proven New Zealand can be competitive with the rest of the world,” he says.

“Maybe people thought the world had moved on and we could no longer compete, but we have proven we can and we will target those events where we are competitive.”

But he knows the crowd will be attracted by New Zealand’s elite athletes – Willis, Valerie Vili and Kimberley Smith. Tremain says he has already talked to Vili’s coach, Kirsten Hellier, and she is keen to compete but will have been involved in the world indoor championships a week earlier.

Willis is also unconfirmed. He will be returning to Wellington over the holiday season to help his brother Stephen launch a running tours venture, but the wedding of his best friend, top Canadian runner Nate Brannen, may clash with the Christchurch event.

Even if he doesn’t compete, Willis will have a role. “Nick is very passionate about the meet, and he understands the importance of it for the sport,” says Tremain. “He doesn’t look at it as a race for himself but as an instrumental development tool for Kiwi athletes.”

Meanwhile, the New Zealand xterra (off-road triathlon) championships are in Rotorua next Saturday, with Steven O’Callaghan and Kyle MacDonald and Ady Ngawati and Lara Phillips in the women’s, both pros and age-group athletes qualify for the world trail running championships in Hawaii in December.

Pre Event Media Coverage – Friday 13th March 2009

4 March 2009
For immediate release

Willis withdraws from mile field

Olympic bronze 1500m runner Nick Willis announced yesterday that he
will be unable to join the mile field in next Friday’s International
Track Meet due to a hip injury.

Willis, who had stated his intention to target John Walker’s
longstanding NZ all comers record at the meet, will still be in
Christchurch for the track meet and will be undertaking all his
intended promotional appearances.

“This has been extremely heartbreaking for me as I have been wanting
desperately to race some world-class races in New Zealand since the
Olympic Games” said Willis yesterday. “The event organisers in
Christchurch have done such a fantastic job at putting up high quality
fields that the meet will be successful with me watching from the
sidelines. I’m excited I can still be involved talking to the kids
and signing autographs before and after the race.”

With Willis’s withdrawal from the mile, 2008 world’s fastest miler
Andrew Baddeley will start the race as favourite as he and Beijing
Olympian training partner Jeff Riseley attempt Walkers record.
The pair will face strong competition from the five other sub-four
minute milers in the field,including 3:53s milers Lachlan Chisholm
and double US indoor 1500m champion Rob Myers, Australian Beijing
Olympian Collis Birmingham and the fastest New Zealander in the
race Gareth Hyett.

Willis has also withdrawn from his only other NZ race the Milestone
Street Mile in Petone but will also attend that event for promotional

1 March 2009
For immediate release

Record-breaking sprinters to race in Christchurch

Christchurch sports fans will have an opportunity to see brand new NZ sprint record holders Monique Williams and David Ambler in action when they race in Christchurch this month.

Triple NZ sprint champion Monique Williams, who broke Kim Robertson’s 30 year old NZ national 200m record on Friday in Sydney with a time of 22.98s will join the 200m field in Christchurch at the International Track Meet on March 13th .

Also racing in Christchurch is new NZ national M19 100m record holder David Ambler, a local Canterbury athlete who broke Matt Brown’s 2006 record in Sydney on Friday with a time of 10.41s.

Six other international athletes who set personal bests in Sydney on Friday will also race at the Christchurch meet on March 13, fuelling expectations of top performances in all events.

27 February 2009
For immediate release

Top US pacemaker for Willis record attempt

The battle between Nick Willis and Andrew Baddeley for John Walker’s 28 year old New Zealand allcomers mile record is set for a blistering pace with the confirmation of top US miler Rob Myers this week as pacemaker for the March 13th race.

With the mile field for the Christchurch event the best assembled in New Zealand for at least 25 years, and most of New Zealand’s fastest 1500m prospects racing in their own right, organisers were forced to look overseas for a top class runner who could run Willis and Baddeley through to the later stages of the race at the pace necessary to attack Walker’s record of 3:50.6 for the best time set on NZ soil.

“It takes a top runner in their own right to have the speed and strength to lead a field for 2-3 laps at the right pace” said Meet Director Craig Motley. “Myers is a sub-four minute miler and a training partner of Nick’s, and securing a pacemaker of his calibre makes it far more likely that the record attempt will be successful”.

A member of Willis’s US training squad, Myers is a former US representative, is ranked in the top 20 in the world this year and has a mile personal best time of 3:53.78.

The More FM Mile will be the headline event of the International Track Meet to be held in Christchurch on 13th March, featuring top local and international athletic talent.

For further information please contact Leyton Tremain begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting: 021 719 900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              021 719 900      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Event website –
Rob Myers website –
Nick Willis website –
Andrew Baddeley website –

The Press, Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Young sprinter breaks record

Sprinter David Ambler broke the Canterbury record for the 100 metres, clocking 10.47 seconds competing in Sydney at the New South Wales track and field championships.

Ambler, still a junior, competed in the open men’s division last weekend and won the event after being the top qualifier from the heats and semifinals earlier in the day.

Ambler said the conditions were not that favourable, with a slight headwind and a wet track after plenty of rain during the day, but he still managed a personal best time. Ambler trimmed almost a 10th of a second off the record he jointly shared with Scott Bowden of 10.56s to claim the record after equalling Bowden’s 20-year record in December in Dunedin.

Ambler, coached by Christchurch sprint coach Andrew Maclennan, is aiming to break the New Zealand junior record of 10.43s this weekend when he competes in Canberra at the ACT Track and Field Championships.

17th February 2009
For Immediate Release

Miles of Talent for Christchurch Track Meet

Christchurch will host an International Track and Field meeting on Friday the 13 th of March 2009. This two hour meeting will feature many of New Zealand ‘s top athletes and provide competition from Australian athletes in many events. This competitive opportunity should result in many personal best performances as our athletes peak in preparation for the national champs only two weeks later. The International Track Meet will bring together top children’s and secondary schools relay teams, paralympic, provincial, national and international athletes to deliver a nights competition that is sure to entertain the crowds.

Jessica Hamill, New Zealand Paralympic representative will compete in Athletes With Disabilities (AWD) Shot Put where she holds both the New Zealand and Oceania records at 7.12 meters. Alongside this competition will be the All Comers Shot Put where women and men, sporting code versus code will all compete against each other for ultimate supremacy. The men headed up by Commonwealth Games Decathlete Brent Newick, former Crusaders Rugby Player Pete Bowden and former Highlander Dan Charteris will use the standard shot weight (7.26kg) while the women use their standard shot (4 kg). Silver Ferns captain Julie Seymour will have good company with Commonwealth Games Heptathletes Rebecca Wardell and Sarah Cowley in the girls camp. Currently Newdick has a personal best 1cm further than Wardell and with athletes competing not only for their gender but also their code and personal pride, this event will be closely followed and is sure to be a fierce competition.

New Zealand ‘s Nick Willis will attempt to break John Walker’s 28 year old New Zealand Mile Resident Record to claim the fastest mile ever run in New Zealand . Willis who has already broken Walkers National 1500m record is showing fantastic early form this season finishing second to World Champion Bernard Lagat at the Milrose Games where he comfortably broke 4 minutes on the tight and demanding 145m indoor track in his first race. In Willis’s second outing he won the Reebok Boston Indoor Games Mile by over a second to clock 3:53.54. This time is within three seconds of Walkers record that he will be chasing in Christchurch in March. Indoor races by nature are slower than outdoor with tighter tracks slowing the runners down and offering fewer opportunities to pass.

The More FM International Mile boasts a field containing seven current sub 4 minute milers from NZ, Australia , Ireland and England including five Olympians. Meet organisers had secured the services of Melbourne Commonwealth Games 1500m Silver and Bronze medalists Nate Brannen (Canada) and Mark Fountain (Australia) however Brannen’s season has been disrupted by a flare up of an old injury while Fountain was tripped in a race breaking his collarbone. Such is the close nature of middle distance running where falls are commonplace when athletes jostle for position as the pace often surges during tactical battles. Andrew Baddeley was the victim of such misfortune when he and Craig Mottram fell during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 1500m final. Baddeley is hungry to beat Willis in Christchurch after his Commonwealth Games dream was shattered in the fall. Baddeley was the fastest miler in the world in 2008 and won the Dream Mile at the Oslo Golden League and will ensure Willis doesn’t have the race all his own way.

Double Olympian (Atlanta and Sydney) Chris Donaldson who has dominated New Zealand sprinting for over a decade by claiming both the 100m and 200m New Zealand titles from 1997 – 2000 and the 100m title in 2007 and 2008 is back in his spikes as part of his preparation to represent New Zealand in the 4 man Bobsleigh at the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Vancouver will add to Donaldson’s outstanding career spanning three Olympics and two Commonwealth Games. Donaldson will face strong competition in Christchurch from our best current sprinters who will be lead by Beijing Olympian James Dolphin.

The international track meeting at QEII Stadium will also feature Aranui High Schools acclaimed Jazz Band and showcase New Zealand ‘s best athletes through the full spectrum from top Colgate Games teams (under 14 years) to professional athletes and provide a visible pathway for our next generation of Olympians to get inspired. This is sure to be an evening’s entertainment that you won’t forget. Tickets are on sale now at

The Mile

3:49.08 – John Walker – National Record
3:50.6 – John Walker – All Comers Record
3:50.6 – John Walker – Resident Record
3:49.38 – Andrew Baddeley – Personal Best
3:50.66 – Nick Willis – Personal Best

Further Information contact Leyton Tremain begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting 021 719 900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              021 719 900      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

8th Feb 09

Willis tastes success in Boston Indoor Games

PhotosportNew Zealand’s Nick Willis
New Zealand runner Nick Willis won the mile at the Boston Indoor Games indoor athletics meeting on Sunday, clocking the fastest time of the year for the United States season.
In a loaded field that included his former Michigan University teammate Alan Webb, and a number of sub-four minute runners, the Beijing Olympics 1500m bronze medallist clocked three minutes, 53.54 seconds.
Once pacesetter Adam Perkins dropped out, Pablo Solares of Mexico took over the lead with Willis and Chris Lukezic in second and third.
At the gun, the race was on, with Willis taking the lead on the backstretch and holding off Solares and Lukezic.
A week ago, Willis finished second to seven-time winner Bernard Lagat in the prestigious Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games indoor athletic meet.
Lagat clocked 3min 58.44sec to pip Willis whose time was 3min 59.48sec.
Willis’ fastest mile time is 3min 50.66sec which he set while finishing second at last year’s Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, during his buildup to the Olympics.  
Nick Willis interview after finishing 2nd to Bernard Lagat in his first race of the season at the Millrose Games in New York where Willis ran 3:59.48 for the Mile on an indoor 145m track. Willis had beaten Lagat in the last three match ups.

30th Jan 09

Times Online Logo 222 x 25

From: The Times

January 10, 2009

Andy Baddeley steps up pursuit of medals

Rick Broadbent, Athletics Correspondent

If there was one sight guaranteed to pain Andy Baddeley as his Olympic dream soured last summer, it was not the bloody leg but the image of Nick Willis running into what the New Zealand media termed “sporting immortality”. The fresh-faced Kiwi had taken an unlikely bronze medal in the 1,500 metres final and gushed about how he would pay off the mortgage. Baddeley, by contrast, went to the airport, where he expected a dressing-down from Lord Coe.

Having beaten Willis at the World Championships the previous year, Baddeley knew that a place on the Olympic podium was tantalisingly close. He made a bid for home but his legs tied up. He had been spiked and had missed three weeks of training before the Games, but he did not proffer that as an excuse. For him, ninth was nowhere.

Hence, when he found himself standing next to Coe, part of Britain’s middle-distance holy trinity from the 1980s along with Steve Ovett and Steve Cram, at Beijing airport, he feared the worst. “I was a bit worried because I thought he would be critical,” he said. “Some people were saying I must be happy to have made the final, but I don’t train to make finals. But Seb actually put a few things in perspective. He asked how much I was training and thought I was doing it right. He pointed out the very high quality of the 1,500 metres now. He was very positive.”

Baddeley, who has a cardiac monitoring device in his chest because of an irregular heartbeat, returns to action today in defence of his four kilometres title at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country meeting. Also competing are Steph Twell, the rising British star, and Eliud Kipchoge, the Olympic silver medal-winner from Kenya . Baddeley will then race indoors in the United States before heading Down Under, where he will take on Willis in an invitational mile in Christchurch . Having won the Dream Mile in Oslo last year, becoming the first Briton to do so since Peter Elliott in 1991, and recording the third-fastest time of the past three years, Baddeley should expect to have the beating of the Kiwi. But, then, he did in Beijing , too. “It’s a motivator and a frustration,” he said of Willis’s Olympic bronze. “It could have been me. I suppose the more people who can get up there, the better it is for the non-Africans, but I’ve never been daunted by running against the top Africans.

“The first time I put my GB kit on for the Olympics was to get on the plane and I could barely walk because of my Achilles. The main aim was to get through the flight and have some physio. I didn’t mention it at the time because I did not want to make an excuse and a lot of people were in the same situation, but the more I reflected, the more I thought that what was missing was those three key weeks.”

Baddeley’s progress last year was impressive. Even with a disrupted build-up he said that he ran his best race in a loaded Olympic semi-final. The time did not show it, some three seconds adrift of his best of 3min 34.36sec, but the tactics did. Willis was only fifth, the last of the qualifiers, while Bernard Lagat, the world champion from the United States , crashed out.

Times can be deceiving when it comes to the championships, though. Willis was only the twentieth-fastest man in the world last year and Baddeley said: “The Dream Mile is the only quick-paced race I’ve had in the last few years and it’s just unfortunate it was not a 1,500 metres.”

Married in October, he said that he has delayed plans to remove the ECG (electrocardiogram) device in his chest until after the World Championships in Berlin in August – the batteries died long ago. Baddeley, though, insists that there is plenty of life left in him. “I’m 26 now and know what I’m capable of,” he said. “Medals are the aim from now on.”

23 rd December 2008

For Immediate Release

Willis accepts challenge from Worlds Fastest Miler

Christchurch will host an International Track and Field meeting on Friday the 13 th of March 2009. New Zealand athletes Valerie Villi and Nick Willis made history at the Beijing Olympics claiming Gold and Bronze medals in the jewel of the games the Track and Field. This made Beijing the most successful Olympic campaign by kiwi athletes at the track since John Walker and Dick Quax medalled at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

This Black Friday event is shaping up to provide a rare opportunity to watch some of the best athletes in the world do battle during two hours of the best athletics you are likely to see live in New Zealand. The feature race, the men’s international invitational Mile has the potential to be the fastest Mile ever run on New Zealand soil. To achieve this huge feat, the foot soldiers will have to better John Walker’s New Zealand Resident and All Comers National record (3 minutes 50.6 seconds) set in Auckland back in 1981. In addition to the prize money on offer, a bonus will be paid for breaking John Walker’s record. The “Black Singlet” will be represented by our own Nick Willis, our second fastest all time Kiwi miler. Willis has successfully continued the long tradition of Kiwi Milers taking on the world that was started with Jack Lovelock and cemented by greats Peter Snell and John Walker.

Despite Willis’s impressive resume he won’t have the race all his own way as he takes on the challenge from the world’s fastest miler this year Andrew Baddeley. Meet organisers are also confident of having several other nations represented to make this field truly international with elite athletes likely from Canada , Australia , Ireland and Great Britain .

Athletics Canterbury have secured the services of Andrew Baddeley ( United Kingdom ) who will return to New Zealand for the second time in March 2009. In 2007 Baddeley won the Mayoral Mile Race in Wanganui when he defeated Gareth Hyett, New Zealand ‘s 13 th fastest all time miler. Baddeley ran the world’s fastest time for the Mile in 2008 when he won the Dream Mile (3:49.38, Oslo Golden League, Bislett Stadium). Baddeley finished 9 th in the Beijing Olympics 1500m and placed 9 th at the 2007 World Track and Field Championships in front of Willis who finished 10 th .

Willis claimed John Walkers 30 year old national 1500m record (3:32.4 set in Oslo in 1975) when he ran 3:32.38 in 2005 before lowering it to the current National Record of 3:32.17 (set 8th of July 2006), 24 years and 1 day after John Walker set the current New Zealand mile record of 3:49.08 (9 th July 1982, Oslo). Willis and his wife Sierra are based in Michigan and will be providing the New Zealand public with a rare opportunity to watch him race against world class opposition alongside New Zealand ‘s best milers.

This international track meeting at QEII Stadium will also feature Aranui High Schools acclaimed Jazz Band along with showcasing New Zealand ‘s best athletes through the full spectrum from top Colgate Games relay teams, Secondary schools mile relay challenge and our top Paralympics athletes building towards the 2010 IPC World Championships. This is sure to be an evening’s entertainment that you won’t forget. Tickets go on sale in January 2009.

The Mile

3:49.08 – John Walker – NZ National Record
3:50.6 – John Walker – NZ All Comers Record
3:50.6 – John Walker – NZ Resident Record
3:49.38 – Andrew Baddeley – Personal Best
3:50.66 – Nick Willis – Personal Best