New Zealand 3000 metre (under-18) and 10,000m Track Walk champion Lucas Martin added the 5000m New Zealand Road Walk Championship Walk to his growing CV on the weekend at the New Zealand Road Championships in Auckland.
Martin not only took the title, but his performance bettered no fewer than four New Zealand age-group records. The under--17, under-18, under-19 and under-20 records all fell to the young Whanganui Collegiate race walker.
His slick time of 23 minutes 46 seconds sliced 1 minute 40 seconds off the previous record held by Daniel du Toit, who was disqualified in Auckland. Du Toit - the New Zealand Schools Champion and also the under-20 3000m walk champion - also fell foul of the judges in Christchurch in the New Zealand under-20 10,000 metre Track Walk, which was won by Martin.
Martin had walked faster in Taranaki in August but his records there were not ratified because some key criteria were not met. As a New Zealand Championship meet, the ratification should not be an issue for Martin's Auckland effort.
On Saturday Martin realised du Toit had two warnings in the early stages of the race and with this in mind, he backed off a little and concentrated on technique.
Martin, who is coached by Bart Smith from Wellington and mentored at Collegiate, is thorough and dedicated in training, demonstrating not only sound technique but also attention to detail.
This weekend Martin is attending an Athletics New Zealand course on race walk officiating, to be held here in Whanganui, as he believes it is important to know what judges are looking for in this very different and technical event.
Later on the same day, he will be back in action at Cooks Gardens in the Regional League second round, renewing his rivalry with du Toit, who won the opening round in Hastings.
The Regional League round two event at Cooks Gardens will attract about 300 athletes from clubs throughout the lower North Island to the iconic track. All event disciplines except pole vault are on the programme, promising a vibrant afternoon of track and field competition.
The field events start at 11am, with the hammer with the last field event getting under way at 3.10pm.
The track programme commences with 300m hurdles at noon and ends with 4 x 400 relay at 4.15pm.
The venue will be set up at 8.15am and as in all such cases, any help at that time would be hugely appreciated, as would any help in any capacity during the competition.
The extensive programme requires a large number of officials and although each club is required to travel with two, the Regional League is hard to staff.
Two of the last three Tuesday club nights have been conducted in poor conditions.
Tuesday was cold and windy but at least remained precipitation-free apart from a sprinkling of rain at the start. The children's section was less fortunate, with a cancellation on Monday because of the wet and cold conditions.
Hopefully we'll strike a fine day on Saturday for the Regional League meeting, which is especially important for athletes with aspirations for the New Zealand Secondary Schools competition in December.
At club night, Maggie Jones again impressed over 100m mixed hurdles (15.11), finishing behind high school teammate Nathaniel Kirk (14.10). As mentioned last week, Kirk looked most impressive over 300m hurdles and will have benefited from this shorter, fast outing.
Both have the ability to do well in Tauranga at the New Zealand schools event and Saturday's meet will be an important step on the way.
Ben Conder and George Lambert renewed their battle over 800m and again Conder prevailed over the two-lap race. Not surprisingly, the cool and windy conditions resulted in times slower than three weeks ago on the same track (2:04.00 and 2:05.72 respectively).
Winner of the girls' division, Josephine Perkins, was also slightly below her best, clocking 2:27.45 in the windy conditions, followed closely by Louise Brabyn (2:28.42 ) and Theodora Gempton (2:30.18).
Aria Carroll ran probably her best ever bend in the 200m to establish a huge lead entering the home straight.
She faltered slightly on the run home but should be quite pleased with her 26.89 in the cool conditions. Club captain Travis Bayler ran 22.96 to win the men's 200m by one second from Jakob Morehouse.
Young Carrie Rennie was a busy athlete, winning the 70m hurdles ahead of twin sister Teresa (13.02 and 13.04 respectively), returning a few minutes later to win the mixed 80m hurdles inn 14.68. She later won the 3000m while sister Teresa won her 200m heat.
Whanganui's leading athletes will all be action on Saturday where home advantage should help lift the club's fourth position from round one.