Tight finishes thrill crowd at Harold Nelson Classic

Two unlikely Academy runners fought it out down the final homestretch of the women’s 1,500 metres to the like of the crowd at Saturday’s Harold Nelson Classic at the Saxton Field Athletics Track.
Two weeks ago no one – especially the combatants, Lucy Harman and Charlotte Carpenter – imagined that they would be locked in such a duel. In fact, neither had ever heard of each other.
Harman didn’t think she would be running after spraining her ankle on a run at the Abel Tasman National Park. The ankle swelled up, and she traded her running shoe for a moon boot.  Ice, a Chinese herbal medicine, and rest reduced the swelling. Harman started running only last weekend.
Carpenter just turned up for training a couple of weeks ago after running 1:36 at the Nelson Half Marathon. But the Victoria University student  turned up for every training session since the first and worried before each of her first two races if she would finish last.
She won the 800m at the Twilight Series Meet on Nov. 15 and followed two Lucys, Harman and Martin, on the first 1,000m of Saturday’s race. Harman surged away from Martin on the backstretch but couldn’t shake the game Carpenter.
Harman sprinted hard into the homestretch but Carpenter challenged to the finish – Harman winning by six metres in 5:03.32 to 5:04.24 for Carpenter.  Martin was third in 5:09.72, and Heidi Stephens fourth in 5:14.28.
The men’s 1500 was a replay of the 800m from the Twilight Meet with Fletcher Pickworth holding off Angus Wemyss by three-tenths of a second in 4:04.62. Nelson Half Marathon runner up George Varney showed a turn of speed, finishing third in a personal best 4:08.34.
The meet also produced an excellent 400m with Camryn Smart holding off Izzy Neal in a personal best 55.63.
The official results can be found at athletics.nelson.co.nz.

Image may contain: Angus Wemyss, outdoor

Angus Wemyss has cast a shadow over Fletcher Pickworth in the first two meets of the season but each time has come up just short to the New Zealand Secondary Schools 1,500m runner up.