Our Top Sporting Memory

A 23-year old Peter Snell comes to Lancaster Park to attend the AGFA international athletics meeting on 3rd February, 1962. A week prior he had set a world record in Wanganui in the mile. Expectations were high, locally and globally, that he could set a new world record in the half mile. There was a crowd of 13,000 spectators, and the players from a cricket match on the back field stopped play to watch the race. Snell was well supported by Auckland pacemaker Barry Robinson who ensured the first lap was particularly fast. In easily winning the race Snell set two world records - 1min, 44.3s for the 800 metres and 1min, 45.1 for the 880 yards. This beat existing world records by an incredible 1.4s and 1.7s respectively. These times remain as NZ records, 57 years later. This was the halcyon days of NZ athletics. Earlier in the day Murray Halberg had beaten an international field in winning the 3-mile race, and local girl Marise Chamberlain had set a NZ record in winning the 880 yard race. We rated this day as the most significant memory in the history of Lancaster Park.