“The first time I ran it I looked like I had been for a swim. I was able to squeeze a small puddle of sweat from my clothes,” Nick Moulai recalls of his first attempt running on a treadmill in a room surrounded by heat pumps delivering sweltering calidity.
Moulai is acclimatising himself for the sun of the Bahamas where he is headed on July 14 for the Junior Commonwealth Games. The Year 13 from St. Bede’s College, Christchurch will represent New Zealand in the 1500m and 3000m.
“I go to the treadmill twice a week now and can last over half an hour, but it’s pretty tough.” Moulai concedes.
Moulai earned the right to build up such duress at the National Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships in Auckland in December last year. He won the 3000m with a time of 8min 16.77sec, shattering a nine-year-old national record.
Moulai hasn’t been particularly active on the track since because there really isn’t a track in Christchurch he can train on during the winter, but is confident he can “build up the legs quickly.”
“There is a track in Timaru I have been to and will do so again. I will also find a track in the Bahamas,” Moulai assures.
Moulai’s winning time in the 3000m in December was more than 35 seconds faster than his time over 3000m at the same event in 2015. Before the start of the American and European seasons this year, Moulai was ranked first and third in the world for the under 17 age-bracket in the 1500m and 3000m respectively.
“I think I am ninth in the 1500m now. I was looking at the winning times last year and a Kenyan ran something like 3:39 which is world class and about ten seconds quicker than me. I will give it my best,” Moulai guarantees.
Moulai is an asthma sufferer making running in the winter with the cooler air tough. However, at the recent National Secondary Schools cross country championships he showed he was an all-season runner finishing third in an arduous race.
“I wanted to win, but you can’t all the time. Sam Tanner deserved his victory. Sam ran a smart race conserving energy at the start and picking his time to kick ahead. It was a narrow track and there was a lot of pushing and shoving which wasn’t ideal, but I guess I was pretty happy to medal.” Moulai reflects.
Moulai is aiming for a podium finish in the Bahamas and is still fundraising to reach the $6,000 required to go. His brother Tom is the National Secondary Schools 800m champion. Both boys aspire a US college scholarship next year.
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