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Terry Manners: improving in good company

When seventeen-year-old Terry Manners saw Peter Snell at the Hastings Highland Games, he knew that running would play a big part in his future life.

He went home and mowed a running track in the paddock behind his parents’ house incorrectly measuring the 440 yard distance. On that shortened track, his times compared pretty favourably with Snell’s - and that was encouragement enough.

It quickly became clear that Terry really did have a natural talent for running and he began to compete successfully in local Hawke’s Bay events. After finishing his apprenticeship as a painter, he decided to move to Australia, where athletics was more advanced as a competitive sport.

Terry was keen to measure himself against the best. “You improve in good company” he says.

For Terry, the improvement was swift. After only three months, he won the Queensland marathon and came third in the nationals. He moved from Brisbane to Melbourne to join the Glen Huntly running club and came second in his first 10 mile cross country race. He also won the Victoria marathon. He considered joining the national team, but hadn’t been in the country long enough to qualify. So he eventually returned to New Zealand in the 1970s where he came second to Dave McKenzie in the New Zealand marathon.

He was selected for the Olympic team to Munich in 1972 and competed in the Christchurch (1974) and Edmonton (1978) Commonwealth Games.

Terry met coaching legend Arthur Lydiard several times. Lydiard’s ‘long slow distance’ technique inspired a generation of runners and led to Olympic Gold medals for New Zealand middle distance running in the 1960s.

Terry has continually sought out opportunities to better himself.

He paid his own way to Japan to compete against a field of elite athletes at the invitation-only Fukuoka Marathon, and claimed fifth place. He was invited back after that.

One of Terry’s sponsors in his running days was shoe manufacturer Asics, and he still has his old pair of Asics Tigers - although they bear little resemblance to today’s footwear. He’s donated them to Focus Health to display.

We’re proud that he’s chosen Focus Health as his physiotherapy provider, and look forward to enabling him to ‘improve in good company’ for many years to come.

If you're a runner or regular jogger, you may be interested in our post about shin splints which includes some simple treatment and prevention tips.

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