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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.


HALBERG, Murray Gordon, M.B.E.

(1933– ).


Murray Gordon Halberg was born at Eketahuna on 7 July 1933 and educated at Avondale College, Auckland. Since he came to notice in 1952 by winning the New Zealand junior championship for the mile and 2-mile events, Murray Halberg has achieved international repute as a long- and middle-distance athlete. He won the New Zealand mile championship in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1960, and the Auckland provincial championship in 1954, 1955, 1957, and 1960. He set New Zealand records for this distance in 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957 (4 min 1·0 sec), and set a new South African mile record at Durban in 1958. In international competitions he has won the Benjamin Franklin mile at Philadelphia (1954); England v. The Rest mile at London (1958); the Victoria test mile (1960) and international miles at Tokyo; Stanford, U.S.A.; and Gateshead, England (1961). He has also won the following special mile events in New Zealand: Royal Festival mile, Dunedin (1954); Empire Games trial (1954); international mile, Auckland (1955); the Dunedin Festival mile (1958); and the international mile, Wellington (1961). His New Zealand mile record, 1954 (4 min 4·4 sec) was the world's fastest time on a grass track for a 20-year-old athlete.

Over the 2 miles Halberg won the New Zealand junior championship in 1952. He set New Zealand records for this distance in 1955, 1956, 1960, and 1962 (8 min 33·6 sec); established a South African record (1958); a United States record (1961); a world indoor record (1961) of 8 min 34·4 sec at Portland, Oregon; and a world outdoor record (1961) of 8 min 30·0 sec in Finland. In international competitions he has won this event at the Australian Olympic trials (1956); the international two miles, London (1960); and in meetings at Tokyo and Los Angeles in 1962. In New Zealand he won special 2-mile events at Otahuhu (1955 and 1960) and at Hamilton (1962), when he beat Tulloch, the British champion.

Halberg won the New Zealand 3-mile championship in 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1962. He has also taken the Auckland provincial championship in the same years and in 1954. In 1956 he established a New Zealand record, but improved upon this twice in 1957 and again in 1960 (13 min 11·4 sec). In 1958 he established a South African record and, in 1961 at Stockholm, created a world record time of 13 min 10·0 sec. In international competitions Halberg has won the 1958 Empire Games event, the 1962 Empire Games event, and the United States 3-mile championship title (1962). He won special races in New Zealand over this distance at Otahuhu (1956) and at Auckland (1957 and 1962). In the 5,000 metres event Halberg established New Zealand records in 1957, 1959, 1960, and 1962 (13 min 38·4 sec). At the 1960 Olympic Games he took a gold medal (13 min 43·4 sec) for the distance; and, in 1961, won the event at the World Games at Helsinki. In 1962 he won the 5,000 metres event at an international meeting at Auckland. (NOTE— On 3 December 1964 R. W. Clarke, of Australia, broke the world record for 3 miles, in 13 min 7·6 sec beating Halberg's 13 min 10 sec recorded in 1961.)

Although in New Zealand the 6-miles and 10,000-metres events are usually timed in the one race, Halberg has established records in both on two occasions. His record for the 6-miles (1960) is 27 min 52·2 sec, and, for the 10,000 metres, 28 min 48·0 sec. These times are New Zealand and British Empire records.

In addition to these, Halberg has competed in other events and has established several record times. He was New Zealand cross-country champion in 1953 and, two years later, won the 800-metre event at Auckland in 1 min 51·7 sec. In 1954 and 1956 (2 min 10·4 sec) he established New Zealand records in the 1,000 yards and, in the latter year, ran this distance in Australia in 2 min 8·4 sec. At Otahuhu in 1955 he established a New Zealand record for 1,320 yards (2 min 59·1 sec), and in 1960 won the international 1,500 metres at Melbourne. In 1956, at Melbourne, he established an Australian record for 2,000 metres (5 min 17·0 sec). In 1956 he won the Australian Olympic Trials 3,000-metres race. He also won the international events over this distance at Tokyo, Cologne, and in Sweden in 1961. At Dublin in 1958 Halberg ran 4 miles in 18 min 22·6 sec – the world's best time for this distance.

In December 1962 and again in January 1963, Halberg was a member of the 4 × 1 mile relay team which created New Zealand records for this event (16 min 29·2 sec). On 25 May 1963 he won the Californian Relays 2-miles event; and on 7 June 1963, the Compton Relays 5,000 metres. He also holds the world “leg” record (4 min 2·5 sec) in the 4 1 mile relay (Dublin 1961). Murray Halberg was created M.B.E. in 1961.


McLintock, Alexander Hare