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Athletics writer Harris dies

The IAAF is saddened to hear that New Zealand sports journalist Norman Harris died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday (20) at the age of 75.

Harris worked as a reporter for the New Zealand Herald, the Sunday Times, the Times and the Observer. He also wrote more than 20 books, including The Lonely Breed, Lap of Honour, Beyond Cooks’ Gardens and The Legend of Lovelock, a biography of 1936 Olympic 1500m champion Jack Lovelock.

Born in Te Kowhai, New Zealand, Harris had strong interests in both athletics and cricket. Influenced by legendary coach Arthur Lydiard, Harris was a keen runner and finished third in the 1960 Owairaka handicap marathon. He also competed at the 1961 New Zealand Marathon Championships.

He covered the 1962 Perth and the 1966 Jamaica British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games for the New Zealand Herald.

As well as producing a Silver Fern publication after each of the Games he attended, he also published a New Zealand Athletics Almanac in 1963.

During his stint at the Sunday Times in the 1970s, he was asked to write about the benefits of jogging. He then worked alongside the paper’s editor, Harry Evans, to establish and organise the Sunday Times National Fun Run in Hyde Park.

Tens of thousands of people took part in the 4km event, which soon after led Chris Brasher to tap into the city’s new-found enthusiasm for running by creating the London Marathon.