Posted: 23/10/2014 at 19:45
Hi Pammie - nice to see you!
Colin - my running is similar to yours. I too was inspired by Peter Snell, but it was the 1960 Rome Olympics. Snell, Halberg and Lydiard were part of the Owairaka club and that club just happened to be across the road from where I lived.
I quickly joined up as a 10 year old. I was hopeless at sprinting, but loved xcountry and as a young girl saw most of NZ representing Auckland in xcountry events.
I ran the first unofficial NZ xcountry for women held in Auckland in 1963. Millie Sampson won, and though still a child, I was second. Millie is in the world marathon rankings for women. She was a real pioneer in women's distance running.
I quit when I was 17 and started competing again at 27 after marrying, travelling, and having my first child. I went back to Owairaka and I am a life member.
In recent years I joined the YMCA for company and motivation - lovely to be with new runners trying to achieve their goal of finishing a marathon.
Last year I rejoined Owairaka as they wanted to try to revive the club again, but miss my old YMCA mates now.
Owairaka's track- the Lovelock track, named after NZ's famous Jack Lovelock,has just been resurfaced and there will be an official re opening of the track on 9 November.
And yes, John Walker, not Owairaka, but ran for another Auckland club, but coached by Arch Jelley (Owairaka) was the first person to run 100 sub 4 minute miles.
He set up a programe called "The field of Dreams" or something similar to help kids achieve their sporting dreams.