SIR PETER SNELL INTERNATIONAL TRACK MEETING
An international track meeting that will feature the following events:
“One Mile Championship”
All athletes who break four minutes for the mile at Cooks Gardens for the first time will be presented with a special presentation cap to celebrate the mark and join a special club of athletes.
ONE MILE CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Track Meeting will feature the “ One Mile Championships”, mile events for the elite men, women, junior women and the junior men’s and wheelchair athletes.
The first “One Mile Championship” at Cooks Gardens was indeed the first ever mile run at Cooks Gardens in 1898 and it was the New Zealand Athletic Association’s National Championships. The event was won by Canterbury’s Sam Pentecost in a me of 4 minutes 38.0s.
Cooks Gardens was made world famous on the night of the 27th January, 1962 when Peter Snell set the World Record for the mile of 3 minutes 54.4s (On grass) beating the previous record of 3m 54.5s set by Australian Herb Elliott in Dublin in 1958.
Over the years a number of first class events have enhance the reputation of Cooks Gardens as one of the premier athletic venues in the world. However the quality of the fields especially in the mile, has gone in cycle depending of what overseas athletes happen to be in the country.
The Sports Heritage Trust has recognised the need for New Zealand competitors to compete at home against overseas athletes, as happened in 1962 with the Agfa Tour and in 1978 and 1980 with the Pan-Am TV2 Track Series
Since 1962 the sub four minute barrier has been broken 63 times by 41 athletes in Whanganui.
The list of athletes who belong to the Cooks Gardens Sub Four Minute Mile Club is like a who-who of world middle distance athletics.
These names include the following:
Peter Snell, Bruce Tulloh (England), Bill Baillie, Jurgen May (Germany), Kip Keino (Kenya), Rod Dixon, John Walker, Dick Quax, Peter O’Donoghue, Tom Smith (USA), Harold Hudak (Germany), Tony Rogers, Michael Hillardt (Australia), Ray Flynn (Ireland), Pat Scammell (Australia), Brian Theriot (USA), Kerry Rodger, Peter Renner, Darryl Frecker (USA), Paul van de Grift (USA), Phil Clode, Hamish Christensen, Chris Bowden (Australia), Bryan Berryhill (USA), Alistair Stevenson (Australia), Stephen Willis, Simon Maunder, Nick Willis, Craig Mottram (Australia), Mo Farah (England), Paul Hamblyn, Gareth Hyett, Andrew Baddeley (England), Adrian Blincoe, David Campbell (Ireland), Aunese Curreen (Samoa), Will Leer (USA), Hamish Carson, Lee Emmanuel (England), Malcolm Hicks and Eric Speakman.
World record holders, Olympic or Commonwealth Games medallists who have run the mile at Cooks and have failed to join this exclusive club include:
Steve Cram (England), Ernie Cunliffe (USA), Peter Elliot (England), Murray Halberg, Jack Lovelock, David Moorcroft (England), Tony Polhill, Kevin Ross, Richard Tayler, Albie Thomas (Australia), Youcef Abdi (Australia), Dieter Baumann (Germany), John Davies, Peter Hildenbrand (Germany), Mike McLeod (England), Bronislaw Malinsowki (Poland), Billy Savidan, Ian Studd, Pekka Vasala (Finland) and Paul Wellmann (Germany).