Athletics: New coach, new approach

Rebekah Greene lifting weights at the High Performance Sport New Zealand gymnasium yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Rebekah Greene lifting weights at the High Performance Sport New Zealand gymnasium yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Promising Dunedin middle-distance runner Rebekah Greene (Hill City-University) has a new coach and a different approach to training.

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 4min 18.50sec.

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 3000m.

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 3000m.

She also impressed at national level. Last year she won the New Zealand secondary schools 1500m and 3000m titles in Wellington.

She suffered from glandular fever after this and missed the national club championships.

 


Rebekah Greene
At a glance

Age: 18.

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).