Millie Sampson

BORN

1933

DISCIPLINE

Marathon
Cross Country
Road Racing

CLUB

Manurewa AC

To understand the pivotal role Mildred “Millie” Sampson played in the development of women’s distance running in New Zealand, it’s the generous words to Millie by 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medallist Lorraine Moller in her book On The Wings of Mercury “thanks for showing us the way” – which perhaps best explains her significance.

New Zealand’s first ever national women’s cross country champion, Millie, who only started athletics seriously at the age of 27, also competed at two International Cross Country Championships (the forerunner to the World Cross Country Championships) and at the inaugural World Cross Country Championships in 1973.

Yet despite only racing two marathons in her career, it is her accomplishments over the classic distance for which she is best known.

On her marathon debut in Auckland on July 21, 1964 she wiped more than eight minutes from the women’s world best time, recording 3:19:33 – a mark which would remain for the next three ...

X