by Chris Tobin
Christchurch athlete Chanel Muir (17) out-sprinted more experienced rivals to win the feature Lovelock Classic Mile at Timaru’s Aorangi track last Saturday.
The Christchurch Avon runner chose to sit inside on the pole-line behind a group of runners in the opening laps before attacking over the final stages to win decisively in 4min 15.5sec, ahead of Joshua Baan (Hill City, Dunedin) in 4min 17.57sec.
Muir’s clubmate, Christopher Dryden, was third in 4min 18.55sec.
Muir has been improving rapidly in recent weeks after posting a time of 4min 25.42sec in Christchurch just after Christmas.
He made the most of Saturday’s still, warm conditions to achieve his win and pick up a cash prize of $600.
A field of 21 runners started.
Max Yanziek, of Run Timaru, was the first local to finish. He was fifth in 4min 20.11sec.
The Lovelock Classic Mile has been held annually since 2008.
The fastest time of 4min 10.18sec was recorded by 2016 Olympian Hamish Carson.
The mile winner has yet to match the then world record time of 4min 7.6sec set by former Timaru Boys’ High School pupil Jack Lovelock at Princeton in the United States in 1933.
New Zealand 800m-1500m champion Katherine Camp (Canterbury University), who is chasing selection for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo in the 800m, had a solo run in the women’s mile, setting a personal-best of 4min 44.24sec.
Camp was chased hard all the way by junior runner Tillie Hollyer (South Canterbury), who finished a strong second in 4min 52.22sec. Lahana Reeves (Christchurch Avon) was third in 5min 8.86sec.
Rosie Elliott (Hill City, Dunedin) impressively won a 100m-200m double in 11.86sec and 23.92sec from Fiona Morrison (Old Boys United).
Morrison, however, won the 100m hurdles in 13.66sec.
Oceania high jump champion and joint New Zealand record-holder Hamish Kerr (Old Boys United) showed he is reaching good form with a leap of 2.23m, not too far off his national record of 2.30m.
Among other stand-out performances, Tiann Whelpton (High School Old Boys) stormed to a comfortable 100m victory in 10.67sec and, in perhaps the best finish of the day, John Gerber (Papanui Toc H) narrowly held out Luke Mercieca (Canterbury University) to win the A grade open men’s 400m in 48.68sec.