Settling in Seattle is on Angie Petty's long-term agenda but that doesn't mean she is going to ease her stranglehold on the Sylvia Potts Classic 800m crown any time soon.

The American city in the state of Washington is where Petty's new coach, Danny Mackey, is after she severed more than a decade of mentoring with Athletics New Zealand high-performance programme distance coach Maria Hassan last October.

"I think Maria's an amazing coach and I appreciate everything she's done for me but it was time for a change," said the 25-year-old of Christchurch soon after winning the feature Sylvia Potts Classic 800m race at the HB Regional Sports Park on Saturday night.

It's early days but Petty (nee Smit) is bracing for a rash of changes and tweaks to her training regime under the tutelage of Mackey.

Advertisement

"Obviously there are similar things I've been doing as well with similar mileage but there are different kind of sessions . . . ," she said, revealing she intended to make her first trip to Seattle in May to gauge her incremental worth at a stable where several Olympians train.

Just as she timed her run on Saturday, the Rio Olympian is considering living in Seattle "but one step at a time".

"He's got a lot of athletes in 800, like six of them, who are between 1:58 to 2:02 so it'll be a great thing with a whole lot of fast girls."

While building a rapport through digital media with Mackey, Petty still enjoys the use of the facilities her Canterbury University Athletics Club.

She rated Saturday's 800m senior women's race her hardest as she kept her composure while Katherine Marshall (nee Camp) uncharacteristically threw down the gauntlet to show Petty a clean pair of heels within 150m of the start.

When she saw Marshall move out early Petty realised she had her work cut out.

"I just tried to stick as close to her as I could and tried to bring it to 150 to go but I didn't have much so I just managed to pull through to give it a go," she said, equally proud of her mate, Marshall, who she felt had improved considerably.

"She went 2:02 last year so she's not too far off a world champs time," she said of the Hamiltonian who turns 25 early next month.

Petty was satisfied with her time of 2m 03.67s for a first-up race this season but also put it down to a change in coaches.

She shifted gears at the 200m mark from the finish line to overtake a straining Marshall who clocked 2:05.56.

Another rival, Katrina Anderson, of Auckland, was breathing down Marshall's neck to clock 2:05.91 for third place.

It was a gob-smacking eighth crown in Hastings for Petty although her time was marginally slower compared with last year's one of 2:03.43.

"It's going to be hard to get to that ninth and 10th but I'm definitely aiming to keep coming back and training for it," she said while trying to bring her spent lungs to a normal rate.

With a lot of youngsters coming through she felt a loss might not necessarily be a bad thing because it would make her more hungry.

She intended to focus on the 1500m at the Cooks Classic but was mindful England-born Kiwi Olympian Nikki Hamblin, of Waikato, or some Australian might make a move one day.
Petty was disappointed with Rio, when taking into account her PB, but illness put paid to that although she felt privileged to be at the Games.

With her gluten-free diet she was mindful not to become too skinny but find a right balance.

Her husband, Sam Petty, ran his first 800m in two years to finish sixth (1:53.90) in the Allan Potts Classic event on Saturday.

Marshall felt she was a bit more reserved than last year.

"My plan was to sit on Angie but after the first 100 I thought I've started as the pacemaker so I might as well carry on," she said, happy but intending to tuck back behind Petty the next time.

"I thought I'd have her this year but, no, she's too strong. It's always a tough race but it's the first one of the season so it's hard to gauge where you're at basing it on training sessions."

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April next year is the sport massage therapist's goal but she'll be back here at a meeting she loves.

Alex Rowe, of Australia, won the senior men's open 800m race without breaking into a sweat but also breaking the meeting record that Mark Rogers, of Canterbury, set of 1:49.75 in 2003.

The 24-year-old from Melbourne clocked 1:48.06 with Andre Waring, 23, of Thomastown in Victoria, crossing the line in 1:52.03.

Samuel Bremer, of Hill City University Athletics Club in Dunedin, came in third at 1:52.08.
Rowe wanted to close under 1:48 and in ideal conditions he took his result "as a positive sign".

"I felt like I need to pick it up a little bit more with 350 to go but I think I packed up a little
bit."

He hoped to return next year.