Matthew Centrowitz to run in Whanganui Mile race  – New Zealand

Olympic 1500 metres champion Matthew Centrowitz is setting his sights on breaking the Cooks Gardens track mile record when he competes in the Sir Peter Snell International Track Meeting on Wednesday 21 March.

Centrowitz, the 2016 Rio Olympic winner, is a confirmed starter for the mile race which also includes five Australian sub-4 minute runners and at least one New Zealander who has cracked the 4 minute barrier.

The 28-year-old Portland-based USA runner, who has personal best mile times of 3:50.53 (outdoors) and 3:50.63 (indoors) will be making his only New Zealand appearance of the year in Whanganui and is aiming to beat the Cooks Gardens record of 3:52.75 set by Kiwi Olympian Nick Willis in 2006.

There have been 63 sub-4 miles run by 41 different runners on the Cooks Gardens track since Peter Snell set his world record of 3:54.4 in 1962.

Olympic champions Snell, John Walker, Mo Farah (USA) and Kipchoge Keino (Kenya) have broken the 4min barrier on the track and world mile record holders Jack Lovelock, Snell, Walker and Steve Cram (England) have raced previously in Whanganui.

Centrowitz, who missed most of last season because of leg injuries, also plans to race in Australia during his visit down under, which replaces his usual campaign on the North American indoor circuit.

He was third in the 1500m at the 2011 Daegu World Championships, fourth in the London 2012 Olympic 1500m, runner-up in the 2013 world champs in Moscow and in 2016 won the world indoor title in Portland and the Rio Olympic title.

When he starts in the Whanganui mile he will emulate his father Matt Centrowitz who raced in the 1982 Whanganui road mile down Victoria Avenue.

The Whanganui mile field includes Australians Stewart McSweyn (Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 5000-10,000m runner with a fastest mile of 3:55), 2017 Sydney Albie Thomas Mile winner Jordan Gusman (3:56); Gold Coast trial runner-up Jordy Williamsz (3:56); Jack Rayner who beat Centrowitz in the 2017 Stanford 5000m (3:58) and Rorey Hunter (3:58).

In the absence of Nick Willis who is nursing a leg injury through to the Commonwealth Games, and who has run five sub-4 miles in Whanganui, the New Zealand contingent will include NZ world indoor champs rep Hamish Carson with a best mile time of 3:56.72, NZ under-18 1500m record holder Isaiah Priddey who clocked 3:44.34 to win the Cooks Gardens Classic 1500m in January and Simon Rogers (Waitakere) who will be trying to follow in the footsteps of his father Tony who has recorded three sub-4 miles in the city.

Tony Rogers will be one of the former sub-4 milers who has confirmed his attendance for the Snell International Meeting. Others include Sir Peter Snell (USA), Bill Baillie, Rod Dixon and Dick Quax.

Leading up to the Sir Pater Snell International Track meeting on the Wednesday evening is a Snell Mile Challenge on Sunday 18 March (open to the public), a Golf Day on the Monday and the Down Under Gala Dinner on the Tuesdaynight.

The Whanganui meeting is one of the meetings making up the Athletics New Zealand International Series running from 14 March to 25 March with other meetings in Timaru, Christchurch, Auckland and Waitakere. Athletics NZ International Series

Details of the various events, being held under the umbrella of the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust, can be found at

Supporting statistical data attached.

  • Cooks Gardens Honours Board – Sub Four Minute Milers
  • Cooks Gardens Sub Four Minute Milers – Presentation Cap Number.
  • Olympic and Commonwealth Games medal Winners who have run a mile at Cooks Gardens.
  • World Record Holders in all events who run a mile at Cooks Gardens.

Courtesy of Athletics New Zealand