Peter Snell & Cooks Gardens


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Plaque name: Peter Snell & Cooks Gardens

Location: Cooks Gardens, Maria Place, Whanganui 4500, New Zealand

Plaque awarded: 27/01/2022

Reason: Plaque categories - Legend and Landmark


Legend: Sir Peter Snell

3-time Olympic gold medallist
1960 800m, & 1964 800m & 1500m

6 ratified world records from 800m to one mile

Born: Ōpunake, New Zealand, 17 December 1938

Died: Dallas, Texas, United States, 12 December 2019

In 1960, Snell was a relatively unknown quantity when he surprised the favourites and dramatically powered to the 800m gold in Rome’s Olympic stadium. His time was 1:46.3, an Olympic record.

Four years later, in Tokyo, Snell destroyed the opposition with devastating bursts down the back straight, winning the 800m by half a second in 1:45.1, another Games record, and unleashing a 53.2sec last lap to take the 1500m by one and a half seconds.

His six ratified world records included a one mile world record (3:54.4) on 27 January 1962 in Cooks Gardens, Whanganui, New Zealand.


Landmark: Cooks Gardens

Dubbed “The Home of the Mile”, Cooks Gardens emerged on the global stage thanks to Snell’s world mile record there 60 years ago.

Many other all-time greats have since run the mile at Cooks Gardens including icons of the sport such as international stars Kip Keino, Jurgen May, Pekka Vasala, Steve Cram, Dave Moorcroft, and Mo Farah, as well as Kiwi superstars Sir John Walker, Jake Lovelock, Sir Murray Halberg, Rod Dixon, and Dick Quax.

In total, Cooks Gardens has witnessed 69 sub-four-minute mile performances, with the track record belonging to double Olympic medallist Nick Willis who ran a time of 3:52.75 in 2006.


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