Saturday, 29 November 2014

Welligton Track Champs 1984

Steve Walshe leads the first lap of the 800m from Brian Turnbull and me.
I was looking to repeat my efforts of the previous season and defend my three titles over 800m, 1500m and 5000m. Unfortunately speed merchant Brian Turnbull picked the weekend to make his first appearance on the track for the season. The photo above shows that he didn't resort to his usual tactics of burning me off over the first lap but sat with the pace made by Steve Walshe, trusting his speed to get him home. The photo is one of my favourites and shows how relaxed you can be even when running 400 metres in 55 to 56 seconds. Shortly after the photo was taken Brian overtook Steve and I followed him but was unable to get past in the home straight. Brian's winning time was 1:53.0 and I was four tenths of a second behind. A little bit slower than the previous year but still a respectable time.

Half an hour later I lined up for the 5000m where I was lined up against Dallas McCallum who had been selected for the New Zealand cross country team. Dallas was his usual aggressive self right from the start and opened up quite a gap over the initial stages but once I'd got into my stride I managed to haul him in. What this did was initiate a number of bursts from him as he tried to shake me off. But after each burst I'd haul him back. Once we had the bell I knew I could win it from there and took the lead down the back straight. Dallas hung on grimly but once I started sprinting from 200m out he couldn't foot it with me. I covered the last 200 in 27 seconds to win in 14:18.9. Dallas finished in 14:20.1.
It's hard to say whether this double was a better one than the previous year. Although the 800 was slower, the 5000 was quite a bit quicker and the conditions were not as good.

The following week I lined up for the 1500m (no 400 heroics this time). The field contained Steve Walshe, Liam Healy, Dallas, Barry Mayo and Brent Addison and, such was my confidence, I took the lead after only one lap had been run and ran away with the race. I finished in 3:48.0 with Steve second in 3:52.7.

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