Rebekah Greene lifting weights at the High Performance
Sport New Zealand gymnasium yesterday. Photo by Jane
Promising Dunedin middle-distance runner Rebekah Greene
(Hill City-University) has a new coach and a different approach
Greene (18), a food science student at the University of
Otago, was coached by Jim Baird when she became serious about
the sport five years ago.
She is now coached by Christchurch-based Maria Hassan, the
Athletics New Zealand professional distance coach.
Greene was coached by Hassan for a short period two years ago
but returned to the Baird stable after a few months.
Greene now has a more relaxed approach to training and is
running longer distances than she did under Baird.
"Jim never had us doing long runs," Greene said. "I now have
a couple of long runs a week.
Most of Baird's training was done on the track but Greene is
now enjoying running in different places such as Ross Creek,
the Botanic Garden and the Karetai track.
"I quite like the long runs," Greene said.
"It is a nice change and you get good views to look at."
The longest weekly mileage Greene ran under Baird was 70km
but it has been increased to 90km under Hassan. This includes
two runs of 1hr 30min.
Green has also entered in fun events like the Splash and Dash
multisport series, and she won the 12km Coastal Classic at
Taieri Mouth on Sunday.
Hassan has introduced weight training to Green's programme
and she is doing two sessions each week at the High
Performance Sport New Zealand gymnasium. She is lifting 40kg
in the squat.
Greene competed in gymnastics for eight years from the age of
6 to 14 and believes it has helped her running career. She
won the level six vault at the New Zealand championships.
"It gave me training discipline and helped my co-ordination
and balance," she said.
She expects to return to track racing in two weeks and will
concentrate on developing speed by racing 200m and 400m in
the early part of the season.
Her season's target is to qualify for the World University
Games in Kazan, Russia, from July 6-17.
To be selected, Greene must lower her 800m time from 2min
7.12sec to 2min 4.50sec, and the 1500m from 4min 18.90sec to
Greene set Otago senior women's records in the 1500m and the
3000m (9min 21.23sec) at the world junior track and field
championships in Barcelona in July. She finished seventh in
The Otago women's 800m record was run by Olympian Sylvia
Potts (Ariki) in 1970 in 2min 4.1sec.
Baird was a stickler for running in a correct style and this
brought dividends to Greene over the last five years. She
holds 22 Otago age group records in events from the 400m to
She also impressed at national level. Last year she won the
New Zealand secondary schools 1500m and 3000m titles in
She suffered from glandular fever after this and missed the
national club championships.
At a glance
Education: St Hilda's Collegiate, University of Otago.
Coaches: Jim Baird, Maria Hassan.
Otago records: 22 (including senior women's 1500m,
4min 18.90sec; 3000m, 9min 21.23sec).
NZ representative: World junior championships,
Barcelona 2010 (seventh in 3000m).