Harry Kerr (racewalker)

Henry Edward "Harry" Kerr (28 January 1879 – 17 May 1951) was a New Zealand athlete who competed mainly in walking events.

Harry Kerr
Personal information
Full nameHenry Edward Kerr
Born28 January 1879
Inglewood, Taranaki, New Zealand
Died17 May 1951 (aged 72)
Taranaki, New Zealand
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight76 kg (168 lb)

He competed for Australasia in the 1908 Summer Olympics held in London in the 3500 metre walk where he won the bronze medal. This was the first time a New Zealander had won an Olympic medal.[1][2]

Kerr was born in Taranaki[1] and was a champion shooter and keen rugby player, as well as competing in a variety of track and field events.[1] Competing for a time as a professional he was required to stand down from competition for two years in order to regain his amateur status.[1] After winning numerous national titles Kerr virtually retired in 1912 and served in World War I but returned to win two more national titles in 1925 at the age of 46.[1]

Kerr was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.[1]

On 13 July 2008 to commemorate the first Olympic Games medal by a New Zealander (actually on 14 July 1908) the Harry Kerr Centennial Walking Relay was held at Sovereign Stadium, Mairangi Bay, Auckland. Two events were held, a 5×10 km relay and a 3500 m individual event.[3][4] A shield for the winning team was presented by Kerr's daughter-in-law.[4][5][6] It is proposed that this will be an annual event.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Harry Kerr. New Zealand Olympic Committee.
  2. ^ Harry Kerr. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ Harry Kerr Centennial Walking Relay and other news from the week. Athletics New Zealand. 14 July 2008
  4. ^ a b Maddaford, Terry (12 July 2008). "Take a walk back in time to our first medal". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b First Olympic medal celebrated. North Shore Times. 10 July 2008
  6. ^ Picture of Rose Sheat, Kerr's daughter-in-law, with Shield. newspix.nzherald.co.nz. 12 July 2008

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