The annual Lovelock Mile, the feature of the Lovelock Classic meeting at the Aorangi Stadium Timaru on Saturday will provide a good start to the athletic season in the New Year.
The mile has been held each year since 2008, and is in honour of Jack Lovelock who attended Timaru Boys’ High School and went on to compete in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games finishing seventh in the 1500m and four years later in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games winning the 1500m gold medal in a world record time of 3:47.8. He also set a world mile record of 4:07.6 in Princeton in July 1933.
The incentive for the milers each year is to better Lovelock’s world record mile time. The closest to date was Hamish Carson in 2012 who won in 4:10.08. Samuel Bremer also gave it a bit of a nudge in 2017 with his time of 4:10.32.
Joshua Baan has the fastest time of those entered with 4:14.90 in finishing third at the 2015 Cooks Classic in Whanganui. Ieuan van der Peet second last year to Daniel Balchin in 4:19.00 returns together with Caden Shields fifth last year in 4:21.60, Daniel Roswell eighth in 4:34.10, George Guerin tenth in 4:37.80, Maximillian Yanzick 11th in 4:40.00 and Ethan Smolej 12th in 4:43.10 and sixth in the national under 18 1500m.
Chanel Muir at 17 showed good form in running 4:25.42 in Christchurch two days after Christmas, Angus Bailey who was fifth in 2016 in 4:27.83, Fletcher Pickworth third in the national under 20 1500m and William Scharpf with a time of 4:34.72 and fifth in the national under 18 1500m are entered. Katherine Camp will compete in the women’s mile. Camp won last year in a personal best 4:44.36. The national 800m and 1500m champion has also entered in the 800m.
Former national 100m and 100m hurdles champion Fiona Morrison will face the national secondary schools champion Hinewai Knowles in the 100m and the hurdles. Also down for the 100m is Rosie Elliott and Julia Burnham. Elliott has also entered the 200m.
Tiaan Whelpton, who is improving with each outing this season should dominate the 100m and 200m. Shay Veitch, national schools 400m and long jump champion is also entered in the sprints and the long jump. Luke Mercieca winner of the 200m and 400m last year is back for the 400m. Former national junior hurdles and high jump champion James Sandilands will compete in the 110m hurdles, which he won last year in 15.33.
Hamish Kerr should highlight the field events. After equalling the New Zealand record of 2.30m Kerr went on to the world championships in Doha. Marcus Wolton second to Kerr in the national championship has a best of 2.11m and returns after winning in Timaru last year with 2.02m. Torie Owers, second at the national championships in the shot put who has a best of 17.50m has entered the shot. Anna Grimaldi, 2016 Rio Paralympics long jump gold medallist will compete in the 100m and long jump. National decathlon champion Max Attwell is down for the 100m, high jump and 110m hurdles. Jared Neighbours silver medallist in the national junior decathlon has a full afternoon of athletics taking part in the javelin, shot put, discus and 110m hurdles.
Nikolas Kini, national schools shot put and hammer champion, will compete in the discus throw.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent