8 Feb 2015

Another of Walker's records falls to Willis

8:44 pm on 8 February 2015

Nick Willis has broken another one of Sir John Walker's national running records with victory in the Boston Indoor Grand Prix.

New Zealand athlete Nick Willis.

New Zealand athlete Nick Willis. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Willis won the indoor meet in a time of three minutes 51.61 seconds, the 31-year-old from Lower Hutt shaving nearly 1.2 seconds off Sir John's national indoor record of 3:52.8 set in 1981 in San Diego.

It's Willis's first race since September 2014.

Sir John was the first person to run the outdoor mile in under 3.50 and he set his indoor mark at San Diego in 1981 and equalled it a year later.

Sir John's record of three minutes 52.8 seconds was still faster than the second placed American Ben Blankenship in Boston on Sunday, Blankenship clocking three minutes 53.13 seconds.

The result comes after Willis has just come off a month of altitude training in Arizona.

Willis also holds the New Zealand indoor and outdoor 1500 metre records, but Walker retains the outdoor mile record of three minutes 49.08 seconds.

Willis's next race is the famous Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in New York on the weekend, before he returns to New Zealand for the 5000 metre Commonwealth Games rematch clash against the Robertson twins, Zane and Jake, at the Auckland Track Challenge meet at Waitakere on February 26th.

"With Zane Robertson running under 60 minutes for a half marathon last weekend, and now my 3:51 mile, it sets up and interesting head to head battle for the Auckland 5000m race," says Willis.

At the same Boston meeting, American world indoor champion Ryan Whiting, who's heading to New Zealand for three meetings against Tom Walsh, heaved the shot to a world-leading 21.43 metres, showing he will provide a very tough challenge for Walsh at Christchurch's Big Shot on 25 February, the Auckland Track Challenge the next day and at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships on 8 March.

The Cantabrian's best is 21.26 metres, set when finishing third to the American at the world indoor championships in March last year.