By Charlie Bristow
Tom Walsh's first world title is inspiring Nick Willis to nab his own long-awaited maiden medal at the World Athletics Championships.
New Zealand's leading 1500 metre runner has arrived in London filled with a renewed sense of belief after a two-week block of Lydiard training in Italy.
Walsh became New Zealand's first male medallist at a World Champs when he won the shot put title at the beginning of the week.
The Timaru native registered a winning put of 22.03 metres, as his more favoured competitors fell short.
Willis said the way Walsh dealt with a tough field is motivating.
"There's sort of this thing that I've had over the years at championships when another Kiwi, someone who I sort of compare myself to does really well, it motivates and inspires me. It's like gosh if they can do it, then I better do it as well."
"I read an article where he [Tom Walsh] said that he can't worry about what his competitors are doing so that example is a reminder to the times when I've had success and it has come from having that same sort of mind-set. I have to focus on what I can do and not consider the other variables."
A variable on the mind of many athletes in London is the sudden outbreak of a gastro virus at one of the event's hotels.
At least 30 athletes and staff have been affected, with the German and Canadian teams understood to be the worst hit by the vomiting bug.
Those staying at the Tower Hotel, near Tower Bridge, have been put into effective quarantine and others have been forced to miss their events.
Athletics New Zealand believe the virus has not spread to its own hotel.
Willis says apart from avoiding sick people in lifts and hallways, there's not much you can do.
"I don't seem to have picked anything up. There's no point worrying about it, all you can do is avoid the tap water and drink out of all the bottled water that has been provided to us. You can pass on vegetables and salads that have been cooked in the water, but other than that you're just hoping you're not going to catch it."
The 34-year-old has a mix of apprehension and anticipation ahead of his first run inside London's Olympic Stadium on Friday [NZT].
After originally counting himself out of contention - due to an injury delaying the start of his season, the 1500 metre runner is now hoping for big things.
"My coach Ron Warhurst and I have set up a couple of work outs over the years that are meant to give us a good indication as to how well I am tracking leading into a big event."
"I was expecting to be at least two or three seconds off, but hopefully still on the up, and then I crossed the finish line on the final 1,000 metre rep that I did of my work out the other night and my brother who was holding the stopwatch went 'Wooh!"
"And I said gosh, does that mean have I run a 2:24? And he turned to me and told me that I've done a 2:22, and that was basically what I ran 10 days before finishing third in Rio and the exact same time before I ran my 3:29 in Monaco a few years ago."
"It shows that im now starting to enter into that zone that I have in the past which is my top form."
Charlie Bristow travelled to London thanks to Air New Zealand