Athletics: Dick Tayler remembers stunning 10,000m Commonwealth Games gold 50 years on

A special tribute will be paid to one of New Zealand's most iconic sporting moments this month.

This year marks 50 years since Dick Tayler's stunning win in the 10,000m at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

To commemorate the anniversary, the national 10,000m championships will be held in Tayler's hometown of Dunedin.

It was a result that no one saw coming pre-race, and half a century on, rewatching that famous day in Christchurch brings back memories.

"A lot of people probably expected me to go 150 out," Tayler, 75, told Newshub. "But I went at 300."

It proved the difference and led to an iconic celebration.

"People often ask me why did I throw my arms in the air," he said. "I said I heard someone yell out in the crowd, 'the bar's open'."

The run was so remarkable, it still stands as the New Zealand resident record; but before the race all the hype was around world record holder David Bedford, and three Kenyan favourites.

"I ran a 3m 57s mile on my own, four days before," Tayler explained. "So I was in really good shape.

"It was a wee bit uncanny stepping on the track amongst the best in the world and having a nice feeling."

Now, Tayler will get to see the country's future 10,000m stars firsthand, when the Caledonian Ground hosts the nationals on January 13, to mark the 50th anniversary of his gold medal triumph.

"I was over the moon, absolutely over the moon, because Otago Ariki Athletic Club and Otago Athletics have been an important part of my athletic career."

Tayler believes there's no reason New Zealand can't have another golden age of middle and long-distance running - although that wasn't always the path he wanted to take.

"When I was at school, I wanted to be a good rugby player. I did a bodybuilding course and all that, so I left school at 14 stone.

"I stepped on the track at QEII at ten and a half stone. You've got to get your bodyweight down, and you've got to be lean and mean, and you've got to do the work.

"A lot of Kiwis can do the work, so there's no reason why not."

Fifty years on, Taylor hopes he's there himself to witness our next world-beater.