Kiwi Ready to Take On Internationals at Queen St Golden Mile
Top Kiwi Ready to Take On Internationals at AUT Queen Street Golden Mile
Top Kiwi hope, Hamish Carson, is confident of a strong showing in the elite men’s race at the AUT Queen Street Golden Mile on Monday despite the quality of the international competition.
The three-time winner of the New Zealand senior 1500m title - his most recent success coming at Mt Smart last weekend, Carson (25) is used to flying under the radar with middle distance running lacking the profile of former years. But few in the race will have anywhere near the coaching pedigree he can call on or the close link with one of the world’s all-time running greats.
In Carson’s corner will be Arch Jelley, the seemingly ageless coaching guru who more than 40 years ago took into his care a young South Auckland runner, with flowing blond hair and boundless talent by name of John Walker. The rest, as they say, is history - plated in gold.
During a career spanning 20 years and three decades (1972-1992) he was the first athlete to run more than 100 sub-4 minute miles, the first to break 3m 50s for the mile, won the 1976 Olympic 1500 gold medal and held 5 world records, including his miracle mile of 3m 49.4s at Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1975.
Behind much of that success lay the meticulous planning by coach Jelley who, now into his 91st year, still spends more time than he should helping others. And for the last eight years, by long-distance, he has coached Carson to three national 1500 titles and, earlier this year, to victory in the NZ half marathon.
Between his running Carson also spent four years at Victoria University achieving First Class Honours in ecology and bio-diversity and now works as a Botanist in Wellington. ”And through it all Arch was always been very supportive of my tertiary study even though it was messing with my running,” he says.
“I couldn’t have done it without his patience and wisdom. Few have the same knowledge of what it takes to get to the top in sport and I count myself very lucky that he has invested so much time, for no reward, into developing me as a runner.”
He says having heard so much about the previous Queen Street miles and countless stories about the achievements of his talented star athlete from coach Jelley that he didn’t hesitate to enter this year’s Queen Street Golden Mile. “I’m in good shape and I know I couldn’t be in better hands.”
He says nothing would give him greater pleasure than to win the race reprised by his boyhood hero, Sir John Walker and the Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation. Its aim is to provide Aucklanders, young and old, the chance to experience the thrill of running in the footsteps of champions and, at the same time generate some revenue to support the work of the Foundation. More details are at www.queenstreetmile.co.nz
Heading the international line-up for the elite men’s mile are three Australians, Ryan Gregson, Collis Birmingham and Brett Robinson, plus US Collegiate runner Miles Batty. Birmingham and Robinson will be fresh from good performances at the recent World Cross Country Championships in Poland, where they finished 8th and 29th respectively.
The elite women’s field is headed by Kiwi 2012 Olympic 1500m semi-finalist Lucy van Dalen, Australia’s Zoe Buckman and Susan Kuijken (Netherlands). All three have been training in Melbourne for the last 6 weeks, but unlike the other two, van Dalen has resisted track appearances.
Her first competition for 7 weeks was the NZ Athletic Championships last weekend where she won her first national senior 1500m title. “I’m where I wanted to be at this stage of the year with my training and have a very solid base behind me,” she says. “Zoe and Susan have sharpened up and could be more race ready them me. But we are all very competitive, have equal 1500m times and I’m expecting it will be a fast mile.”
The Queen Street Golden Mile Easter Monday afternoon starts with a lunch hosted by Mayor Len Brown at the Cloud on Queen’s Wharf followed by about 16 races spread over four hours, including juniors, veterans, over 20s, a corporate team event, an Auckland Citizen’s mile - open to anyone over the age of 16 - culminating in an elite men’s and women’s mile around 4.45pm. Special guest at the event will be former Olympic gold medallist and world 1500m and mile world record holder Steve Ovett.
Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation Chief Executive, Craig Pollock, says the good form of the internationals should ensure the elite miles “are the competitive races we hoped they would be. But the event is also about enabling as many people as possible to experience the thrill of a street mile. And all those who enter the Auckland Citizens mile will receive a certificate with their officially registered times recorded.”
The Queen Street Golden Mile has the support of Mayor Len Brown as well as Auckland Council, Athletics Auckland and the NZ Olympic Committee. More details about the Queen Street Golden Mile are at www.queenstreetmile.co.nz