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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Page: 4192


Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (13:43): Merv Lincoln, born in the town of Leongatha in my electorate of McMillan on 22 November 1933, died this week. Merv was an Australian middle distance runner who won a silver medal at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and twice competed in the summer Olympics. He recalled the day he broke the four-minute mile, saying it was a beautiful day for running. He said:

Ron Clarke was to be my pacemaker for the first two laps, and then it would be over to me. I flew home over the last two laps, with the crowd roaring encouragement. After running through the finishing line there was an anxious pause of three minutes, as the timekeepers compared their times. It was unanimous; I had run the 1 mile in 3 minutes 58.9 seconds.

Merv was sometimes referred to as 'the miler who was always second best', yet it was who he was second best to that was important. As his career took off, he was emerging as the heir apparent to John Landy, only to be overshadowed by Herb Elliot. In Dublin in 1958 Merv Lincoln ran a mile in three minutes 55.9 seconds. The time was 1.3 seconds faster than the world record, and yet he finished second to Herb Elliot, who ran three minutes 54.5 seconds in the same race! After being beaten by the two men ranked one and two in the world, Merv Lincoln was heard to say with a grin that he might as well 'take up tennis'.

I came to meet Merv after the fireworks one New Year's Eve when Ziggy his dog jumped into my lap in our backyard at Phillip Island. Ziggy stayed with us for a couple of days and was eventually returned to Merv. That is how I met Merv Lincoln. Vale Mervyn George Lincoln.