Monday, 5 August 2013

Nicki McFadzien wins NZ women's cross country championships. Remembering Brian Taylor.


Nicki McFadzien gave no one else a chance bolting to the front after the first 500m and carrying on for a convincing win in 28m 5s for the 8000m New Zealand's women's cross country championships at Minogue Park in Hamiliton last Saturday, August 3, 2013.

 When McFadzien crossed the finish line, her thoughts immediately turned to two people who have had a profound effect on her career: coach Sam McLean and the late Brian Taylor, who was killed in the Canterbury earthquake.

In an interview after the race she said this about her coaches 


Who is your coach?
Sam McLean has been my coach since February 2011 because my coach of six years Brian Taylor tragically passed away in the February earthquake. Sam was best friends with Brian and he has been incredible in taking me on and continuing to train and support me.


Brian Taylor (centre) and Sam McLeod (right) with a group of promising athletes in early 2010. Photo: Bob McKerrow
Here is the full interview conducted by Athletics New Zealand. 

Could you give me a rundown on how the race went for you at the National Cross Country 
Champs?
It was a really tough, eight kilometres of hills and thick mud which made for an interesting race. I really 
enjoyed racing on a true cross country course. The nationals doubled up with Oceania’s this year and I 
placed third in Oceania and second in New Zealand to Celia Sullohern from Australia and Mikayla Nielsen,
 who both ran an awesome race. I led for the first lap and a half and tried to pull the field apart. However 
after that I was passed and lost about 90 metres. They maintained that gap until the last lap when I was able
 to pull in Mikayla to about 20metres.
How much training had you been doing prior to this year’s National Cross Country Champs?
I ran the Christchurch half marathon in June and had been doing high mileage leading up to that. I continued
 with this mileage plus some speed work in the build up to nationals.
What does a day by day training schedule consist of for you?
Throughout the week I have three long runs (1.10hr, 1.20hr and 2hrs+), a drill and stride session, two 
tempo/ rep sessions and a recovery session which is a really light run. On five of those days I also have a
 gentle jog late afternoon
Is there much difference between the training that you do now and in previous years?
Compared with previous years my mileage has increased a lot. Last year I ran twice a day a few times
 a week and now my training is twice, five times a week. During the winter it is especially difficult getting
 out the door on cold mornings and evenings.
Who is your coach?
Sam McLean has been my coach since February 2011 because my coach of six years Brian Taylor
 tragically passed away in the February earthquake. Sam was best friends with Brian and he has been 
incredible in taking me on and continuing to train and support me.

Brian Taylor training a group of athletes in Christchurch in early 2010. Photo: Bob McKerrow

What club do you run for and how long have you been with this club?
I run for the University of Canterbury and have been with them for eight years. They have been a very 
supportive club and it has been a lot of fun being part of their relay teams.
What’s next for you in the way of races?
The next big race that I am aiming for will be a half marathon early next year. Prior to this I want to race
 track and improve my times in the 5km and 10km. I have the opportunity to go to New York next year
 and do some road races but I will see how my 10k times are before deciding on that.
When and where did you first start running?
The earliest I remember running was at the age of three. I have video footage running around the cul de sac 
and telling mum and dad that I didn’t want to stop.  I loved to run around the block and try to better my
 time. There was never any pressure to run, I just loved doing it.
At what age did you first start running?
I first began to run seriously with a coach in Year 9 when I joined Brian Taylor’s group. This group was
 about ten strong and we met four times a week for long runs and speed sessions. It made training a lot of
 fun and I made some great friends.
What and who were your influences when you first started running?
Kathrine Switzer, the first lady to run the Boston marathon has been a huge influence. She was a friend of 
my late coach and has motivated me to challenge myself and do what I love.
What about work and studies – what’s your current situation?
Currently I am in the last semester of my degree. I am studying Psychology and Education at Canterbury.
 I hope to be accepted for Teachers College next year and become a Primary School teacher.
Is there anything else that you think readers might be interested in about you?
I have a great appreciation for fish and chip shops that sell deep fried Mars Bars...you must try this at least 
once.

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