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Tauranga teen Sam Tanner looking to break hero Nick Willis' mile record

He's only been in the sport for two years, but Kiwi runner Sam Tanner has already made a name for himself as one to watch in the near future.

At the start of 2019, the 18-year old Tauranga native and national under 20 1500m champion took on his hero, Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis at the Cooks Classic, finishing just behind him.

However, he did manage to break Willis' under 19 record, with the two squaring off again at the 800m in the Capital Classic, this time Tanner coming out on top.

Speaking to 1 NEWS, Tanner revealed his ambition, stacking up for a similar if not better career on the track than Willis.

"Ever since I started running I've kind of been like man I want to be an Olympian," he said.

"The more I race and the faster I get the closer my mind is to going yeah I can actually do this."

Willis too sees the similarities between himself and Tanner, with more of the Olympic silver medallist's records now under threat.

"He's got a very light frame, he's a little guy who's going to be able to get around the track without taking a lot of wear and tear," Willis told 1 NEWS.

With Tanner's under 19 national record now 0.68 seconds faster than Willis' [new record 3 min 43.01 seconds], the teen sensation is now setting his sights even higher, aiming for a sub-four minute mile.

Should he achieve the feat in this weekend's Whanganui mile, Tanner will topple Willis once again, becoming the youngest Kiwi to do so.

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    Tanner has already broken Willis' U19 record for the 1500m. Source: 1 NEWS


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