Athletics: Greene aiming to compete in Brian Taylor 3000m

Rebekah Greene
Rebekah Greene
Otago's top female middle-distance runner, Rebekah Greene, hopes to be fit for the Brian Taylor Memorial 3000m in Christchurch on Saturday.

Greene (19) has been sidelined by an injury to her lower left leg and only competed in one event during this month's national series.

She won the mile at the Lovelock Classic in Timaru in 4min 48sec this month and has nursed her injury since that time.

The medical staff have not been able to pinpoint the injury but she is getting regular treatment at the Dunedin High Performance Centre from physiotherapist Helen Littleworth.

Greene is not able to run at present but she is keeping up her aerobic fitness on an exercycle and by aqua-jogging.

The 3000m honours the memory of former Otago athlete and coach Brian Taylor, who was killed in the February Christchurch earthquake.

He grew up in Dunedin and was the Otago record-holder for the mile and six-mile before leaving the city to teach in Christchurch. His wife, Prue, principal of Christchurch Girls' High School, represented New Zealand in masters athletics.

Greene has a best time of 9min 21sec and will be tested by New Zealand Olympian Lucy van Dalen and Susan Kuijken, of the Netherlands. They both compete in the United States college system.

Van Dalen has a best time of 8min 56.70sec and Kuijken 8min 56.27sec.

New Zealand cross-country representative Rachel Kingsford (Otago), Canterbury's Rosa Flanagan and Nicki McFadzien, and Wellington's Tina Harris are also competing.

The feature men's event on the grass track at Christ's College is the mile. Beijing Olympics 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis will be attempting to run under 4min.

Peter Snell ran a sub-4min mile on grass at Wanganui in 1962 when he broke Australian Herb Elliott's world record in 3min 54.4sec. Bruce Tulloch (Great Britain) also broke the 4min barrier that day when he was runner-up in 3min 59.3sec.

Willis has already broken the 4min barrier in New Zealand this season, running 3min 58.09sec on the all-weather track in Whanganui.

Willis will be challenged by Petr Kaminski (Czech Republic), Luke Mathews (Australia) and Aaron Pulford (Waikato).

New Zealand senior men's champion Tom Walsh (Canterbury) will be pitted against Australian junior record-holder Damien Birkenhead in the shot put.

The Australian will also challenge New Zealand senior champion Marshall Hall (Otago) in the discus.