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South Point hosting track greats from New Zealand

May. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

SOUTH POINT, Ohio -- Some former track greats from New Zealand will be at South Point High School on Thursday and Friday for the Arthur Lydiard Classic.

Friday's track meet is named after Arthur Lydiard, who was a successful distance running coach from New Zealand. He got to attend the annual meet just before he passed away. What makes the meet different is it has a Kiwi flare.

Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with the "Legends in Black" at the South Point High cafeteria. Former standout runners from New Zealand and the United States will speak, show video highlights of their careers and field questions from the audience. An autograph and photo session will follow. It is free and open to the public.

Due in from New Zealand are:

Barry Magee, Olympic bronze medal winner in the marathon in 1960 and one of the top distance coaches in New Zealand.

Bill Baillie, Olympian and national champion of New Zealand in events ranging from 800 to 10,000 meters. He's a former world record holder of the one-hour run and the 20,000. Lydiard coached both Magee and Baillie.

Anne Audain, former world record holder in the 5,000 and a top road racer.

Nick Willis, Olympic silver medalist in the 1500 in 2008 and currently training for the World Championships in Moscow.

Representing the United States is Bob Schul, the only American to win Olympic gold in the 5,000.

Host for the evening will be Nobby Hashizumi, president of the Lydiard Foundation, and former coach of the Hitachi Ltd. running team of Japan.

Kahurangi, a music group from Hastings, New Zealand, will provide entertainment Thursday and perform at the opening ceremony on Friday at 5 p.m. Athletes will attend and hand out awards and sign autographs. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students.

For more information, contact South Point coach Randy Smith at 740-534-3592.