Sixty years ago, New Zealand runner Sir Peter Snell put Whanganui and Cooks Gardens on the world map.
On January 27, 1962, Snell set a new world record for the mile with a time of 3 minutes 54.4 seconds, and became the first person to run a mile under four minutes in New Zealand.
With a crowd of 15,000 people, the event remains the most attended athletic event in Whanganui's history.
Russell Sears, of the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust, said the event truly put Whanganui on the world stage.
"It entered Cooks Gardens and Whanganui into the athletic records of the world and from that Cooks Gardens as a track has benefited greatly from athletes across the world wanting to compete here.
"Athletes around the world still want to run a mile at Cooks. It has made our jobs a lot easier from the endeavours of Peter Snell that night."
Snell gained international fame in 1960, when he took out the gold medal in the 800m at the Rome Olympics.
Two years later in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Perth, Snell and athletes from around the world took part in the AGFA International Athletic Meeting, which was a number of athletic events in successive weeks across New Zealand.
After two meetings in Auckland and Hamilton where Snell had looked on form, Sears said there was a feeling that January 27 was going to be something special.
"By that stage, the nation probably had a feeling that something was going to happen because Snell's coach Arthur Lydiard said he would definitely break four minutes in Whanganui."
The first mile at Cooks Gardens was held some 64 years prior in 1898 at the New Zealand One Mile Championships. The event was won by Canterbury's Sam Pentecost in a time of 4 minutes 38 seconds.
Bruce Tulloh, Albie Thomas, Murray Halberg, Ernie Cunliffe, Alex Shaw and Barry Cossar made up the rest of the field, with several of them holding various world records across different running events at the time.
"It was a pretty magical field that night," Sears said.
Alex Shaw said it is incredible to be tied to such a historic night in New Zealand athletics.
While he finished with a "slow" time of 4 minutes 14.3 seconds, that wasn't due to a lack of effort.
"I slowed down to watch Peter Snell do the last couple of hundred of metres. You would never see a runner like that again. He just floated in the air with all those muscles, it was just so great.
"I was a spectator that night. It's a memory that is unique to someone."
Shaw said the atmosphere at Cooks Gardens that night was "just electric."
"The hill there was just a seething mess of people. It really was packed."
Shaw is going to be in Whanganui this weekend for the Cooks Classic, where he will be the guest of honour.
Whanganui athletics columnist Alec McNab said the event was the catalyst for what has since become of Cooks Gardens.
"It has led to what has become the home of the mile in New Zealand. Indirectly, it put New Zealand on the world map and put Whanganui out in the world.
"It is a very significant day in world athletics."
He compared Snell's record breaking day to when Irish club Munster beat the All Blacks in 1978, where everyone you knew said they were at the ground, whether that was true or not.
Since Snell's record breaking day in 1962, there have been 69 sub four minute miles run at Cooks Gardens.