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Preston breaks long-standing Snell record

Updated: May 26

James Preston Athletics NZ 800m
James Preston has broken Peter Snell's 800m record at a meeting in Germany. PHOTO: ATHLETICS NZ/ALISHA LOVRICH

Wellington's James Preston has run the race of his life and surpassed the 62-year-old national 800m record of Sir Peter Snell.

He recorded a time of 1:44.04 in Pfungstadt, Germany to also achieve the Olympic entry standard mark for Paris.


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The 27-year-old Wellington-based athlete claimed a dominant victory from fellow kiwi Brad Mathas taking 0.83 from his previous best earlier this year.

Preston’s mark set at the Merck Running Gala was also comfortably below the Olympic entry standard of 1:44.70.

Sir Peter Snell’s mark had been the longest standing New Zealand athletics record. His 1:44.3 was set on a grass track in Christchurch in 1962 for what was a then world record mark.

In second place Mathas clocked 1;45.80 – within 0.05 of his lifetime best to claim second.


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