Less than one hundredth of a second separated 20-year-old Sam Tanner from a share of the Cooks Gardens 1500 metre track record on Tuesday evening.
Tanner who joined the illustrious list of Cooks Gardens sub 4-minute milers in March last year when his time of 3:58.41 broke both the New Zealand under-19 and under-20 records, may have not gained the lofty goal of an Olympic A Qualifying standard but should be delighted with his massive personal best stopping the clock at 3:38.04 tantalisingly close to Peter O'Donoghue's track record of 3:38.03 (1984).
This was a significant performance for the young Craig Kirkwood-coached Tauranga athlete as he starts his bid for an Olympic debut in Tokyo.
This early season performance on the first day of the revised Olympic qualifying period bodes well for Tanner and he can look forward to building on this outstanding early season success.
We also look forward to seeing him back in Whanganui at the Cooks Classic and the Peter Snell New Zealand Mile Championships on January 30.
When Roger Bannister became the first man to run a sub 4-minute mile at the Iffley Rd track in Oxford on May 6, 1954, he remarked that all day he had been anxiously watching the wind and the flags outside of the stadium.
The race was delayed slightly in the hope that conditions would improve. Just as the race started Bannister noted that the flags fluttered more gently and the rest was history.
Although the record of 3:59.4 lasted just 46 days, Bannister's place in history was assured.
A similar waiting game was played out at Cooks Gardens on Tuesday as the gale force winds of earlier in the day eased in the afternoon.
The scheduled start time of 8.30pm was moved to 9pm in the hope of as so often it would drop even further (9pm is the time most of the best times have been set at Cooks Gardens).
The wait was worthwhile and although conditions were cold and there was a breeze into their face on the back straight it was gentle enough for the field of 8 athletes.
Cooks Gardens sub 4 miler and Olympian Hamish Carson did an excellent job as pace maker, taking Tanner through the first three laps, leaving Tanner to run into the breeze on the back straight and come home over the final 200 metres with the southeasterly at his back, urged home by the many who had stayed on from club night or came in for the one race.
The photo timers re-examined the photo many times checking if they could find that extra hundredth of a second to share the record but Tanner was in fact thousandths of a second outside that mark.
Another Cooks Gardens sub-4 miler Eric Speakman was second in 3:43.96, a great early season indication that he is coming back well from injury.
We will all watch with interest the progress of Tanner, Carson and Speakman over the summer. I for one cannot wait for the Cooks Classic in January.
At Masterton on Saturday athletes also benefited from a wind drop as the cold breezy conditions at noon quickly improved with warm sunshine lifting both spirits and performances.
Whanganui, weakened by injury and unavailability of athletes, did well to hold their third position in the 19-team competition.
The final result went to the wire with Palmerston North by 0.5 of a point from the new Mana/Kapiti combination.
Unlike Donald Trump I doubt whether the Mana/Kapiti team will demand a legal recount.
Nat Kirk again impressed over 300m hurdles, winning with a slick 39.56 seconds. He also had his first run over the shorter 110m hurdles for another win.
Jacky Dai won the triple jump with a series of jumps bettering his personal best three times. His winning effort of 12.82m will give confidence to this promising Year 11 athlete who a year ago took silver in the junior grade at New Zealand Secondary Schools champs as he heads to Tauranga as a young first year senior.
Lucas Martin may have finished behind New Zealand Schools 3000m walk champion Daniel du Toit but he closed the gap and was rewarded with a new Whanganui Collegiate record and Manawatu Centre record of 13:05.20.
At club night on Tuesday Martin sliced a huge margin off his 2000m best and his time of 8:30.66 10 days out from New Zealand Schools suggests he could go under 13 minutes in Tauranga.
Whanganui athletes should be encouraged by setting 20 personal bests in Masterton in what will be their final major competition before New Zealand Schools which I will preview in next week's article.