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Lasting Memories for Halberg Trust Founder


Christchurch Holds Many Lasting Memories for Halberg Trust Founder

Auckland, 24 November, 2010:

The city of Christchurch and Lancaster Park in particular, holds some “very special and lasting” memories for Sir Murray Halberg, but for which he claims no credit.

The Halberg Trust founder, who will be the key note speaker at the Westpac Halberg Celebrity Sporting luncheon at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, Christchurch on Friday, says Peter Snell’s remarkable 880 yards and 800m world record double “on a ground mowed and rolled to perfection was an unbelievable performance and one of the best I have ever seen.”

A week after breaking the world mile record on a grass track at Wanganui, Snell went out on February 3, 1962 and blitzed a high class field to break the world 880 yards record and on the way shattered the world 800m mark.

Snell ran the 880 yards in 1m 45.1s, well under the old time of 1m 46.8s, and his 800m time of 1m 44.3s broke the world record of 1m 45.7s. Snell’s 800m time remains the current NZ National record, still the fastest time on grass over the distance anywhere in the world and it would have won the 800m gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Sir Murray also recalls “the vivid memory of Dick Taylor’s magnificent 10,000m victory” at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch. “I was sitting next to Arthur Lydiard (who coached both athletes) during that race, and that was also a very enlightening experience. So I have some superb memories of Christchurch and not one of them involve me.”

Sir Murray is also looking forward to catching up with former New Zealand shot put and discus Champion Val Young, winner of 5 Commonwealth Gold medals between 1958-66, who also finished a credible 4th in the shot at the 1964 Rome Olympics.

The Christchurch lunch is one of six Westpac Celebrity Sporting events around the country held this year by the Halberg Trust, linking together 50 years of gold medal success. Other centres which hosted the pair were New Plymouth, Hamilton and Invercargill. Golf events will be staged in Queenstown and Wellington in the New Year.
It was on September 2 in 1960 when Sir Murray shared his golden afternoon with Sir Peter Snell, Snell winning first in the 800m final, followed 45 minutes later by Sir Murray who proved too strong for a high class field in the 5000m final.

Tickets to the Westpac Halberg Celebrity Sporting lunch at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on Friday at $100 each are still available. To book tickets, contact the Halberg Trust on 0800 HALBERG or


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