News & Updates

31 October 2019 • General

Five Minutes With Buddy Small

We find out more about the 19-year-old Southlander, who is poised to represent his country in the forthcoming World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina (Nov 15).

What is your athletics quality?
My commitment. No matter what the day is doing or what sort of day I’ve had at work, I still show up and complete my training. I like to tell myself I’m out doing the hard yards, while my competitors are inside out of the rain, but, in reality, we’re all doing the same thing.
Why would you encourage anyone to try athletics?
There’s an event for anyone. Also by competing you get to travel around New Zealand, meet new people and witness some great races.

Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?
My first coach was Jason Clarke, he coached me from when I was Year 9. He helped me focus on events to target and encouraged me to run at my first New Zealand secondary schools competition, even though I was still green in the sport.

What are your athletics weaknesses?
My biggest weakness is probably not backing my abilities/confidence, especially when I first try a new event like the 5000m and the steeplechase. For me, it’s like entering the unknown but after you get the first one out of the way, I tell myself its onwards and upwards from here. I’ve learned to start build confidence knowing I’ve done the training and that I deserve to be at the event, which in turn has helped me with my race preparation.

What is the funniest things you’ve seen on an athletics track?
A couple weeks back at our local athletics meet I managed to be the one who fell in the water jump of the steeplechase not once but twice in consecutive laps which was rather embarrassing! To make matters worse my coach, Lance Smith, was standing there videoing so its on camera. I do admit, a lot of the laughs happen watching the steeplechase.

What is your favourite athletics session?
I do enjoy the sessions that get the heart rate up, but I tend to enjoy the session where our whole squad is involved and we each have to pick a session to do, whether it be as weird as doing an obstacle course or playing games. Everyone’s just having a good time.

What has been the greatest thing you’ve witnessed at an athletics stadium?
It would probably be watching Sam Tanner win the senior men’s 1500m at the 2019 New Zealand Track & Field Championships. The way he raced it and how the whole crowd got behind him was amazing. The kid is unreal!

Who has been your toughest rival?
I’ve raced against so many different people, so everybody on the start line is definitely considered a rival.

If you could star in another sport which sport would It be?
I follow a few different sports, I’ve had the chance to co-drive in a rally car and I enjoyed the adrenaline rush of going fast, so if money was no issue, I’d like to think I’d be involved in motorsport.

When travelling to a meeting what is the most important thing in your suitcase?
It would have to be spikes and uniform, I can’t really compete without them.

What is your greatest regret?
Not so much regrets, but I think everybody looks back on races and wishes they could have done something different to better the outcome.

Who is the person you most admire?
It’s clichéd, but I definitely admire my parents because without their support I doubt I’d have been able to compete away at as many competitions as I have. They come to most my races whether it’s a local race or a national competition. They’re generally the first people I see after my race depending where they’ve positioned themselves around the track. I also admire my coach, Lance Smith. He’s put a lot of his time and effort into coaching me, he’s quick to tell me what I need to improve on, he makes me recap on my performances and figure out what went right and what went wrong. None of them ask for anything in return, which I am extremely grateful for.

What is your favourite movie?
Don’t think you can go past the childhood classic The Lion King.

When was the last time you looked at your medals?
I hang them on my wall in my bedroom, so I look at them every day.