Cooks Gardens event to honour Sir Peter Snell

Published on 14 January 2020

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A tribute event has been organised to honour the late Sir Peter Snell KNZM OBE, commemorating his record-breaking World Mile at Cooks Gardens in Whanganui in 1962.

Whanganui District Council, along with Athletics Wanganui and the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust, will celebrate Sir Peter’s outstanding sporting achievements on Monday, 27 January 2020, the 58th anniversary of his record-breaking mile in Whanganui.

Cr Philippa Baker-Hogan says, “Sir Peter is New Zealand’s Sports Champion of the 20th Century and his record-breaking World Mile at Whanganui 58 years ago will be inscribed forever as one of the most remarkable and memorable occasions that the people of Whanganui have ever witnessed.”

She says the free event is intended to be a respectful tribute to Sir Peter who passed away in the United States on 12 December 2019, and who always remained supportive of athletics in Whanganui.

Russell Sears, of the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust, says, “The people of Whanganui will remember Sir Peter as the person who made the name of ‘Cooks Gardens, Whanganui’ world-famous when he set the world one-mile record of 3m 54.4s on 27 January, 1962.

“He was a New Zealand athletic legend who always remembered and supported the Whanganui Athletic Club and Cooks Gardens.”

Cr Baker-Hogan says everyone is welcome to attend the event, which will comprise of a tribute lap of the Cooks Gardens track followed by speeches from Mayor Hamish McDouall and athletics representatives including former New Zealand middle- to long-distance runner and 1972 Olympic medallist, Rod Dixon.

Members of the public taking part in the tribute are asked to meet at the Cooks Street entrance to Cooks Gardens from 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start. The event is expected to conclude at about 8.00pm.