In 1935 a fully representative team was selected to visit Australia. The members were J. W. Savidan, N. F. Cooper, A. L. Stevens, J. Riddington, W. A. C. Pullar, and A. R. Geddes. At Parramatta, Sydney, the team contested the Australian championship over 10,000 metres, an Australia – New Zealand test match being held in conjunction with the event. Pullar, second, was the first New Zealander home. A remarkably versatile runner, Pullar won New Zealand titles at the mile (three times), 3 miles, cross-country, and 440 yards hurdles. The other scoring New Zealanders were placed fifth, seventh, and eighth, giving New Zealand 22 points to Australia's winning 14 points. The other event in the itinerary was the New South Wales championship at Sydney over 10 miles. Savidan finished second and New Zealand scored 18 points to tie with New South Wales in the team contest. In neither appearance were the New Zealanders able to show their best cross-country form. The courses were flat – the New South Wales race being held on a racecourse – the terrain firm, and the obstacles few and easy.
A second international team routed Australia in 1957. The first six in the New Zealand championship that year were selected – they were K. E. Williams, M. G. Halberg, N. I. Scott, J. L. Julian, P. N. Sidon, and M. W. Hellier. Only two days after arriving at Brisbane the team contested the Australian 10,000 metres championship, which incorporated an Australia – New Zealand test match. In temperatures over 80 degrees Halberg won easily from D. W. Power (one of Australia's greatest runners) and broke all records for the course. The next New Zealanders were fifth, sixth, and eighth. In the teams' result Australia won with 16 points to New Zealand's 20. It should be noted, however, that W. D. Baillie, then temporarily resident in Australia, had been selected for the Australian team and finished third. Had Baillie run for New Zealand the result would certainly have been reversed. The team next met New South Wales at Sydney over 10,000 metres. Power reversed the test result by defeating Halberg. The other New Zealanders were placed third, fifth, and sixth to win the teams' race by 16 points to 20. In the final event against Victoria over 10 miles, New Zealand gained almost a perfect score to win 11–25. Halberg was the leading New Zealander for the third time. In this tour, as in 1935, the New Zealanders were not able to show their best, for the courses by New Zealand standards were not true cross-country.
At the time of writing (1964) it is proposed to enter a team in the International Cross-country Championship to be held in Belgium in 1965. This is the most ambitious yet attempted but is fully justified by the tremendously high standard of long-distance and cross-country running in New Zealand today. (The event took place in March 1965, J. Julian finishing sixth. New Zealand was third in the teams event. Ed.)
by Peter Norman Heidenström, Journalist, Wellington.