Sir Murray Halberg has been dedicated to athletics and charity work for over 50 years.
His athletic feats, which spanned more than a decade, began in the 1950s and since retiring from sport, he has been involved in the community in a charitable capacity. He established the Halberg Trust, formerly known as the Murray Halberg Trust for Crippled Children, in 1963. The vision of the trust is to ensure that all New Zealanders “are given an equal opportunity to be involved in sport and recreation”. The trust also took over the management of the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year Award, which was later renamed the “Halberg Awards”.
He first came to prominence in the 1950s as a world class miler, but his greatest success was winning the Gold Medal for the 5,000 metres at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. Earlier in his athletic career he won the New Zealand mile championship and set national records four times in the 1950s.
He also won a number of international competitions, including the Benjamin Franklin Mile in Philadelphia in 1954. He won the New Zealand 3-mile championship five times between 1958 and 1962. He also competed at the Vancouver Empire Games in 1954, the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956, and at the Cardiff Commonwealth Games in 1958, where he won the gold medal for the three miles. Murray Halberg was New Zealand Sportsman of the Year in 1958 and was made a member of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1961 and knighted for services to sport and crippled children in 1988.