Footage of epic race source of inspiration for leading women

Dick Tayler wins the 10.000 metres in 1974. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Dick Tayler wins the 10.000 metres in 1974. PHOTO: ODT FILES
North Harbour Bays clubmates Anneke Arlidge and Brigid Dennehy were inspired by greatness on Saturday.

The pair watched footage of Dick Tayler’s epic Commonwealth Games run to prepare for the women’s national 10,000m final in Dunedin.

With conditions at the Caledonian Ground nudging 30°C — not dissimilar to those experienced by Tayler at the QEII track in 1974 — Arlidge and Dennehy adjusted their race plan to fit the conditions, deciding to work together and sharing the burden up front.

"It takes the guesswork out of it and you don’t have to think quite as much", Arlidge said.

"Both of us watched the Dick Tayler race the night before and we were both thinking about it throughout the race. It helped both of us."

Arlidge and Dennehy appeared the ones to watch as they shared the workload up front with Kerry White (Hawke’s Bay), before the Aucklanders started to pull away.

Nothing separated the two as they crossed for the bell lap, and the lead chopped and changed.

It appeared as if Dennehy would emerge victorious as she lengthened her stride and went into overdrive, but Arlidge countered as they hit the home straight, and with a tail-wind sprint regained the lead to cross for gold in a personal best time of 35min 15.84sec.

Dennehy was hot on her heels for silver, crossing in 35min 17.74sec.

White spoiled a North Harbour Bays clean sweep as she pipped the fast-finishing Jess Wright to claim bronze in 36min 54.10sec.

Arlidge (27), a naval psychologist, is more noted for her steeplechase and cross-country ability. She won back-to-back national senior steeplechase titles in 2022 and 2023, and was a New Zealand world cross-country representative last year.

Along with Dunedin runner Catherine Lund, Arlidge will be in the national team again this year for the world cross-country in Serbia in March.

"I don’t usually do 10km races but it is surprisingly doable", she said.

Dennehy, who came to New Zealand from County Kerry, Northern Ireland, found the race a great experience, having made the transition from Gaelic football over the past two years since gaining her New Zealand residency.

Last year, she won the inaugural senior women’s New Zealand road mile in Rotorua.