One of the longest-running, continuous sporting events in the history of World Sport.
January 2, 2017
Camron Slessor @camronslessor
STRONG FINISH: Olympian Ryan Gregson stormed home to win the Burnie Open Mile. Picture: Cordell Richardson.
Olympian Ryan Gregson became the first athlete to win the Burnie Open Mile from scratch since 1967 on Sunday.
The 1500m national record holder made his move in the final lap to storm home and cross the line in 4:03.97.
Running from scratch with training partner and Tasmanian Stewart McSweyn, the Victorian pushed himself to the limit in an attempt to break the sub-4 minute mile.
Although he didn’t reach the feat, he had the crowd on its feet as he finished ahead of McSweyn in second and Forth Paralympian Deon Kenzie in third.
Gregson said running alongside training partner in McSweyn helped him hit the front early and he expected to see big things from the Tasmanian.
“The fields in great condition...unfortunately the wind came up a bit but I’d love to come back next year and hopefully get a still day and crack four (minutes).
“He’s (McSweyn) a good training partner and he knows that I’m the older guy in the group.
“He’s a local boy and it was great for him to get a win in Devonport and I think this year from McSweyn you’ll see him make the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games next year.”
As one of Australia’s top middle distance runners, Gregson said while it was hard to move around such a big field of runners, the conditions suited him and the backmarkers.
“Because it was so windy it really affected the runners at the front so I guess it was an advantage to the stronger runners.
“That’s why you probably saw me catch them so early just because it was tougher conditions.
“So it was 34 runners and about 350m to go when I started overtaking people.
“I was quite wide and my last lap instead of running 400m I probably ran close to 420 metres.
“If I had of been on the rail the whole way that could’ve been four minutes there.”
With the Burnie Carnival in its 130th year Gregson said he was humbled by the added incentive of $3000 if he could run sub-4 minuets but that wasn’t what it was all about.
“I’d do this for free, I just love running and it’s nice to have that financial recognition but I just want to crack four because it’s such a huge milestone.
“I do understand it (the history) and that’s why I wanted to come back and compete in this mile.
“I’m a big fan of the sport and especially mile running so it just makes a win like this even more special and it’s so humbling to go down in the record books.”
Nicole Perry took out the women’s 400m, winning in 55.99 seconds with Samantha Lind and Courtney Stanley in third.
In the men’s 400m it was Alec Eiszele in 48.86 ahead of Shane Ezard and Callum James third.