Murray Halberg - New Zealand - 1960 Olympic 5000m gold

Photo/Foto: E. D. Lacey (1922-1976)

Date: 04 August 1958

Click on image to enlarge

      Friday, 07 July 1933
      Eketahuna, New Zealand.
  • New Zealand

Murray HALBERG - New Zealand - 1960 Olympic 5000m gold


Murray Halberg made a name for himself in the late 1950s as world-class miler, but he didn't really achieve everlasting fame until he started to concentrate his efforts on the 3miles/5000m distance. At the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, he came fifth in the mile in 4min 07.2sec, although he was barely noticed above the attention paid to Bannister and Landy. At the next Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff in 1958, he again finished 5th in the mile, but in the three miles, in a field which included recent World Record setter Albert Thomas (Australia), Halberg broke away from the field with three laps to go and won easily with Thomas nearly 10 seconds behind. After the Games, he won the GB v Commonwealth mile on 4 August at White City, London (see photo above), and then at Dublin, he ran his one and only sub-four minute mile, running 3min 57.5sec, but finishing only fourth behind a Herb Elliott World Record.


At the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Halberg placed fifth in the 10000m, and then in the 5000m final, he repeated his Cardiff tactics, breaking away from the pack in the tenth lap, and hanging on to win in 13min 43.4sec. His times were steadily decreasing and in 1961 he broke Thomas' two-mile World Record on 7 July running 8min 30.0sec, and on 25 July he broke the 3 miles World Record, also held by Thomas, clocking 13min 10.0sec. A few days before his two-mile record, Halberg had been a member of the New Zealand team that set a new 4 x 1 mile relay World Record of 16min 23.8sec in Dublin. In 1962, he successfully defended his Commonwealth Games 3 miles title at Perth, beating a young Ron Clarke and 6 miles victor Bruce Kidd (Canada). (Ron Casey).



Ed Lacey's photo of Murray Halberg was taken on  Wednesday, September 14, 1960                       

                                           Championship Record 1954-1964.


Men's 1 mile Final. Commonwealth Games 1954
1. Roger BANNISTER   ENG   3.58.8
2. John LANDY   AUS   3.59.6
3. Rich FERGUSON   CAN   4.04.6
4. ?   ?   ?
5. Murray HALBERG   NZL   4.07.2
Men's 1 mile Final. Commonwealth Games 1958
1. Herb ELLIOTT   AUS   3.59.0
2. Mervyn LINCOLN   AUS   4.01.9
3. Albert THOMAS   AUS   4.02.7
4. Gordon PIRIE   ENG   4.04.1
5. Murray HALBERG   NZL   4.06.6
6. BERISFORD   SCO   4.07.8
Men's 3 miles Final. Commonwealth Games 1958
1. Murray HALBERG   NZL   13.15.0
2. Albert THOMAS   AUS   13.24.4
3. Neville SCOT   NZL   13.26.2
4. Gordon PIRIE   ENG   13.29.6
5. Ron CLARK   ENG   13.30.6
6. John MERRIMAN   WAL   13.32.4
Men's 5000m. Final. Olympic Games 1960
1. Murray HALBERG   NZL   13: 43.4
2. Hans GRODOTZKI   GDR   13: 44.6
3. Kazimierz ZIMNY   GDR   13: 46.8
5. David POWER   AUS   13: 51.8
6. Maiyoro NYANDIKA   KEN   13: 52.8
7. Michel BERNARD   FRA   14: 04.2
8. Horst FLOSSBACH   GER   14: 06.6
Men's 10, 000m. Final. Olympic Games 1960
1. Pyotr BOLOTNIKOV   SOV   28: 32.2 OR
2. Hans GRODOTZKI   GDR   28: 37.0
3. David POWER   AUS   28: 38.2
4. Aleksei DESYACHIKOV   SOV   28: 39.6
5. Murray HALBERG   NZL   28: 48.6
6. Max TRUEX   USA   28: 50.2
7. Zdzislaw KRZYSZKOWIAK   POL   28: 52.4
8. John MERRIMAN   GBR   28: 52.6
Men's 3 miles Final. Commonwealth Games 1962
1. Murray HALBERG   NZL   13.34.2
2. Ron CLARKE   AUS   13.36.0
3. Bruce KIDD   CAN   13.36.4
4. Bruce TULLOH   ENG   13.37.8
5. Albert THOMAS   AUS   13.40.6
6. Edward STRONG   ENG   13.41.4
Men's 10, 000m. Final. Olympic Games 1964
1. William MILLS   USA   28: 24.4 OR
2. Mohamed GAMMOUDI   TUN   28: 24.8
3. Ron CLARKE   AUS   28: 25.8
4. Mamo WOLDE   ETH   28: 31.8
5. Leonid IVANOV   SOV   28: 53.2
6. Kokichi TSUBURAYA   JAP   28: 59.4
7. Murray HALBERG   NZL   29: 10.8
8. Anthony COOK   AUS   29: 15.8


In the 1961 New Year Honours Halberg was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to athletics. In the 1988 New Year Honours he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to sport and crippled children. In the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008 Halberg was appointed to the Order of New Zealand. The following month he became only the fourth person to be awarded the Blake Medal, named after fellow countryman Sir Peter Blake, for his more than 50 years' service to athletics, and to children with disabilities.


In 1963 he set up The Halberg Trust, which supports children with disabilities to be active in sport, creation and leisure. For many years the Halberg Trust has managed the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year Award, which is now called the Westpac Halberg Awards. Halberg House of Hutt International Boys' School is named after Sir Murray Halberg, and students in the house earn what are called "meter points" which relates to Sir Murray Halberg and his running career. Tauranga Boys' College also named a house after Sir Murray Halberg. (This information from Wikipedia  under their Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Not the photos. )