The "Last Chance PB Meeting:" in Palmerston North was probably just that and was almost certainly the last meeting of the prematurely ended season.

Four Whanganui athletes took part with three, Tayla Brunger, Zach Bellamy and Ben Conder, rewarded with impressive personal bests.

Bellamy featured in last week's article following his outstanding 800 metres in a similar competition at Cooks Gardens a week earlier when he sliced over four seconds off his best and propelling him to number 2 in the Whanganui Collegiate all-time 800 metre rankings.

On Saturday he took 3 seconds off his 1500 metres time, stopping the clock at 3:54.57. Three days earlier Bellamy produced a predictive time of 3 minutes 55 on a Kosmin test so that it was not really a surprise that he ran so well in finishing third in a quality field.


Conder (4:13.29) took a similar margin from his personal best set at the Porritt Classic back in February.

Brunger rounded off an impressive month with her first sub 55 second run over 400 metres.

In a small mixed field, including Whanganui Club Captain Travis Bayler and former Whanganui athlete Josh Ledger, Brunger ran the one lap in 54.63 seconds shattering her own best and Collegiate record by well over half a second (0.75).

Earlier in the month the Kerry Hill (Tauranga) coached sprinter had won the New Zealand under 20 100/200 metre sprint double but had to be content with silver in the one lap event.

Brunger had equalled her previous best of 55.38 at Cooks Gardens in finishing second to New Zealand Schools 400 metre champion Camryn Smart.

Brunger has now run under 55.44 on five occasions this season demonstrating impressive consistency, ending with that outstanding one lap performance on Saturday.

New Zealand has a group of outstanding under 20 women sprinters with a squad targeting the World Junior Championships later in the year.

Eight of the 10 should have been in Sydney this week at the cancelled Australian Championships where all eight should have been in two relay teams contesting both the Under 20 and Senior Women's 4 x 400 relays.


The world target time of 3:39.00 was never going to be easy but the form of squad members over the past 10 days at hastily put together mini meets give a good indication to what might have been.

In Whanganui 10 days ago Camryn Smart set a PB with Brunger equalling hers. Last Saturday as mentioned above Brunger took her 400 metre running to a new level, while in Auckland Annalies Kalma set a season's best closing in on her very impressive personal best with young Northlander Holly Rule setting a new best.

All showed they were peaking for the cancelled Australian event. The best times of the leading four (with two other providing excellent support) aggregated are very close to the tough World Junior standard set by Athletics New Zealand.

If allowance is given that in a relay three of the four have rolling starts for their legs, they were capable of that mark. An announcement that the World Junior Championships in Kenya have been postponed was made today but at least as a single sport event there is possibility of postponement to later this year unlike the Olympics postponed for a year.

Brunger heads our 69 metres, 150 metres, 200 metres, 300 metres, 400 metres and also 800 metres only the outstanding Sophie Williams, now based in Auckland, heads her over 100 metres when Williams broke the junior New Zealand School's record set in 1973 (the oldest in the record book).

Williams stopped the clock at 11.86, Brunger ran a wind-assisted 11.89 in January and has a legal best of 12.07. Brunger like so many New Zealanders faced headwinds early season and many wind-aided performances this calendar year.

Williams had been extremely fortunate to get an almost perfect wind when she set her record in Wellington in December.

The unexpected time on my hands has allowed me to tidy up the Whanganui rankings and at the same time ensure that no performances set at Cooks Gardens this year have been missed by Athletics New Zealand.

The draft is being checked by coaches and athletes and will appear later this week on the Athletics Whanganui website.

The rankings will also form the basis of a series of articles over the next few weeks, probably on a fortnightly basis, highlighting the excellent performances of our athletes.