I’m delighted to see Hamish win the Queen Street mile. Sir John Walker
Hamish Carson in top form
By Roger Childs
He hails from Raumati South and recently won the New Zealand 1500m title, his fourth. His key focus over the next seven weeks is to qualify for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in his favoured track distance. So on Sunday, Hamish Carson got an excellent workout in winning the Queen Street Golden Mile.
The event is promoted by John Walker’s Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation which aims to get more children active in sport and able to swim. Sandwiched between the ITU elite women’s and men’s triathlon events, the street mile provided additional entertainment for the thousands of spectators.
Reviving a popular race
The largely downhill run on Auckland’s main street was first held in 1972 and was won by local 1500m specialist Tony Pohill in 3.47.6.
Then in the early 1980s, world class fields contested the event.
~ 1982: Steve Scott from the US won in an incredible 3.31.25. This was 16 seconds faster than Sebastian Coe’s world track record! John Walker was fourth in that race. Christine Hughes won the women’s race in 4.03.07: also 16 seconds inside the world track record.
~ 1983: Kenya’s Mike Boit (pictured alongside), ran what is still the fastest ever time for the mile distance: 3.28.36! Christine Hughes was again the first woman home, with a time of 4.02.93.
Some long time Kapiti residents may recall seeing these stars run the mile along Paraparaumu Beach. This was part of the Molenberg Mile Series which also included races in Mount Maunganui and Nelson.
Last year John Walker revived the Queen Street event, and it is likely to feature annually from now on.
Having the race under control
I was biding my time for the final sprint. Hamish Carson
He was beaten last year by Australia’s Ryan Gregson, because he started his sprint too early. So this time, Hamish ran conservatively and trailed the field in the early stages. However he was always in touch and joined the front group in the second half. Then, urged on by thousands of triathlon spectators in lower Queen Street, Hamish Carson powered away on the blue carpeted finishing straight to win comfortably by 15 metres.
Speaking afterwards, the modest Raumati athlete, who runs for Scottish Harriers, acknowledged his respect for organiser Sir John Walker: He is a real idol of mine. John Walker’s track time over the mile of 3.49.08 still stands as the New Zealand record.
Coincidently, Walker’s coach from those days, 91 year old Arch Jelley, is also Carson’s coach. Arch was a gymnastics champion and featherweight boxing champion in the late 1930s and has had a distinguished coaching career in athletics from the 1940s on. He is still able to join Hamish on post-work out jogs!
Hamish began his running with Kapiti Harriers, but it was not until he was at Kapiti College that he started winning races. After leaving school he joined Scottish Harriers in Wellington to get more competition.
Eyes on Glasgow
After a year marred by illness and injury, Hamish Carson is now hitting his best form. He needs to reach the qualifying time of 3.38.6 to be considered for selection in the Commonwealth Games team. He has run faster than this before, but not in the Games qualifying period.
When he not running elsewhere in the country or around the world, Hamish works as a botanist and conservationist for the Paekakariki firm GroundTruth. Queen Elizabeth Park is a favourite training area, and he is a familiar sight in the dune tracks springing like a gazelle with his long, fair hair streaming in the breeze.
In order to qualify for Glasgow, Hamish realises that he needs to be pushed in more competitive races, so he is off to the USA for the next two months. He’ll be in regular touch with Arch Jelley and feels that he can achieve the qualifying time.
I’ve done it before. I know I can do it. I just need to put in the hard work.