26 Mar 2011

Willis wins national 5000 metres title

1:48 pm on 26 March 2011

Nick Willis has easily won the New Zealand 5000 metres title on the first day of the national track and field championships.

Olympic silver medallist Willis overcame blustery cold conditions at the Caledonian Stadium in Dunedin to pip Luke Hurring and Tim Hodge by over seven seconds.

Willis took control after 2000 metres ahead of early leader Tony Payne and soon had the field running in his wake to come home in 14 minutes 34.32 seconds.

Willis also won the national 1500 metres title in 2006 and in 2008.

Carl Van der Speck of Auckland collected his third senior 100 metres title in a row, clearing away from a strong field midway down the straight to clock 11.07 seconds ahead of Isaac Tatoa of Auckland and Tim Jones of Canterbury.

Andrea Koenen of Auckland won her first senior 100 metres title in 12.37 seconds from defending champion Anna Smythe of Otago and team-mate Rochelle Coster.

Philip Jensen of Wellington, who won his first national hammer throw title 23 years ago, chalked up his 17th win in the event with a throw of 59.04 metres.

Matt Baxter of Taranaki ran an outstanding eight minutes 30.68 seconds for the conditions to win the M16 3000 metres.