Ivan Keats started his running as a 3000m steeplechaser later switching to the marathon. He was third in the New Zealand marathon championship in Christchurch in 1961 in 2:26:47 and in the 1964 championship in Lower Hutt he was second in 2:18:44 which clinched his place to the Tokyo Olympic Games. His time was the 29th fastest in the world in 1964.
He was buoyed by walking in the opening ceremony at Tokyo. “Walking into that Olympic Stadium alongside the likes of Murray Halberg and Peter Snell for the opening ceremony is something that will stay with me always – just magic,” said Keats recently. “I went back to the stadium some hours after the ceremony had finished to do a six mile time trial and did my fastest time ever; I guess riding on the euphoria from having walked into such a huge emotional cauldron.”
But the wave of emotion carrying Olympian 184 had dissipated by the time the marathon rolled around and Keats’ ...