News & Updates

16 August 2019 • General

Five Minutes With – Montana Brown

The Christchurch-based teenager won 100m and 200m silver medals at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships in March. We find out more about the rising 16-year-old T34 wheelchair racing talent as she answers our Five Minutes With questions. 


What is your best athletics quality?


I can do a range of different distances from 60m up to the 800m. I never thought I would be any good at the longer distances but since training with my coach (Alex McIntrye), I have found the longer distances more my style.


Why would you encourage someone to do athletics?


It is a great way to meet new people and have fun. It is good for your confidence and there are lots of opportunities for Para athletes to compete and try many different sports.


Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?


My first and only coach is Alex McIntryre. He has helped a lot with my technique and fitness. He is a calming influence and has made me a lot more confident.


What are your athletics weaknesses?


Definitely the wind. The new track in Christchurch seems to get battered by every possible wind, even if it is not windy anywhere else! My racing chair is very light and I struggle in the strong winds to stay in my lane, and, sometimes, even on the track. Yes, in my first 800m race I was blown off the track!


What is the funniest things you’ve seen on an athletics track?


At the 2019 New Zealand Track and Field Championships at Nga Puna Wai once again the wind was a huge pain. The gazebos all went tumbling and the officials were chasing them around the track.


What is your favourite athletics session?


I enjoy track sessions, especially when I have a competitions approaching and we work on the small details to make sure everything goes smoothly.


What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed in an athletics stadium?


It would definitely have to be The Halberg Games.  There are so many great things that happen over that weekend and witnessing the support that all the athletes and supporters give to one other is very humbling. One that really stood out to me was when one of my team members was still running after everyone else had finished the race.  A group of Parafed Canterbury athletes ran back on the track to finish the race with him.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the stadium.


Who has been your toughest rival?


Sarah James and I have raced each other from day one. I have never quite beat her in a race yet and that is definitely motivation for me.


If you could star in another sport which sport would it be?


Boccia or shooting. I competed in both of these sports and really enjoyed them but there is only so many days in a week to train, so I had to commit to just one sport. Wheelchair racing was the most rewarding for me and the one that gave me the greatest adrenaline rush.


When travelling to a meeting what is the most important item in your suitcase?


My racing chair is the most important item when travelling but my gloves are the most important thing In my suitcase. We’ve had a couple of close calls when we thought I had forgotten them but luckily my mum has been there to double check!


What is your greatest regret?


I don’t really have any regrets. I know that if I give it 100 per cent then even if things don’t go to plan, I have done everything I can. As long as I learn from my mistakes and give it all I’ve got, there is nothing to regret.


Who is the person you most admire?


I admire Hannah Cockroft from the UK. She is the fastest T34 female wheelchair racer in the world. Her times are ridiculously fast and she is a great role model for other female wheelchair racers.


What are you most scared of?


The start line. I get really nervous every time I line up to race. In wheelchair racing the start is so important, it makes or breaks the whole race. It terrifies me!


What is your favourite movie and why?


The Hunger Games.  I really like action movies and I love how the main character is a strong female who never gives up. It’s got a bit of everything; action, romance, sci-fi and drama. I’ve watched it six times and it never grows old.


When was the last time you looked at your medals?


They are hanging in my bedroom so I see them every day when I wake up. They make me proud and happy.