By Gary Caffell
The man they call “Bones” has been named 2016 New Zealand Masters Distance Athlete of the Year.
The award, which was announced at a ceremony in Nelson, was the icing on the cake for Masterton’s Tony Price after a series of stellar performances last year, including the winning of one gold and two silver medals at the World Masters championships in Perth and silver medals at both the national cross country and road championships.
Impressive as his Perth results were they might even have been better.
In the 8km cross country Price ran aggressively and led virtually the whole way until the last 20m where he was pipped on the line.
And the same thing happened in the 5000m where he shared the lead with an English competitor all the way through only to lose in a sprint finish.
The gold medal for Price at the worlds came in the cross country where he was part of a New Zealand team which had the first three runners finish before a similar number from any other country.
Price was delighted by his award.
“You train hard, you try your best and hopefully the results go your way . . . this is really the icing on the cake for everything I do.
“To be considered the best distance athlete in New Zealand across all masters grades from 35yrs plus is just amazing.”
The World Masters Indoor Championships in Daegu, Korea is the next big assignment for Price.
He and fellow Masterton athlete Andrea Harris flew out this week along with coach Mark Harris with the expectations of giving a strong account of themselves.
Price will contest the 8km cross country, 3000m and half-marathon and while a niggling injury has him less than 100 per cent fit, he is optimistic of doing well.
Harris will contest the 800m, 1500m and 3000m.
She came agonisingly close to a medal in the 800m in Perth last year.
Both Harris and Price expressed thanks for the generous sponsorship received from Trust House, without which they would not have been able to compete in Daegu.