Achilles heel healed, Pickworth soars to victory in Twilight 800m

On Tuesday, Fletcher Pickworth couldn’t run a step.  His sore Achilles tendon sidelined him for several days and jeopardised his hopes of winning a gold medal at next month’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics Championships.
On Friday, Pickworth was back on the track – the newly surfaced athletic track at Saxton Field – and running away from Angus Wemyss in the 800m at the season’s first Athletics Nelson Twilight Series meet.
Pickworth’s winning time of 1:58.66 was the second fastest time of his career and a second faster than his winning time in this race last year. Wemyss also showed improvement in finishing second in 1:59.18. Jacob Brooks was third in 2:03.10. Oliver McCormack in fourth and Joshua Fitzgerald in fifth ran personal bests of 2:12.59 and 2:13.99, respectively.
Charlotte Carpenter, who showed up for her first National Academy of Distance Running training session barely a week ago, won the women’s 800m in 2:31.44.  Heidi Stephens was second in 2:34.26.
Matt Bowen won the 3,000m in 9:40.53 from Josh Gill in 10:15.88.
No miracle that Pickworth was able to rebound so quickly from the Achilles injury. Just his coach’s well-placed knuckle and elbow up from his ankle to the bottom of his knee – not the first Achilles injury he has fixed. Pickworth was back jogging on Wednesday and felt no soreness after his warmup.
He and his Academy teammates now take aim on Saturday’s Harold Nelson Classic, which starts on Saturday at 6pm at the Saxton Field Athletic Track. The middle distance races will be the 800m at 7pm and the 1,500m at 8pm.