News & Updates

8 September 2021 • General

Q and A with Courtney Ruske

Courtney Ruske competing at the 2021 Jennian Homes NZ Track & Field Championships (Photo credit: Alisha Lovrich)

New Zealand 3000m and 10,000m track walk national champion Courtney Ruske is among of the country’s leading race walkers. Here the 27-year-old from Christchurch Avon AC takes her turn to tackle our regular Q & A segment

Why did you start athletics?

One of my friends from primary school wanted to give athletics a go, so I just went along with her. As a youngster, I was lucky my parents supported me to give everything a go. I did every single sport I could try, I participated in basketball, netball, dancing, soccer, touch, cross country, volleyball and hockey.

What was the last piece of athletics advice you received?

The only training you are benefiting from is the training you are recovering from. I got this from the Physical Performance Show with Shona Halson.

What has been your career highlight?

I have a few highlights; one of them goes back to 2014 when I broke the National U20 10km Road and Track records along with the 5km track record.

A more recent highlight would be managing to qualify for the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships. I was lucky enough to have John Bowden (Athletics NZ Out of Stadia Co-ordinator) yelling at me with 10 laps to go of 50, that I had to go now! Even though my race time was a long way off what I am capable of – it was just great to be back out there challenging myself again.

What has been your athletics low?

Finding out I had a meniscus tear in my right knee a couple of weeks out from nationals in 2016. This injury forced me to step away from the sport for a bit which was frustrating at the time. Despite this, it was great as it allowed me to reshape my identity, so it wasn’t just sport focused.

Another huge low for me has been recovering from REDS (relative energy deficiency in sport). I found out about this last year after not having my cycle for a good five years. I have since began to recover from this.

Where do you see your athletics career ten years from now?

Well, in ten years I will be old! Hopefully, I will have had some more opportunities to race overseas and gain experience from international events, so I can work towards being the best version of myself. I also hope to help and support the next generation of race walkers.

What is your greatest mistake in athletics?

I have made a lot of mistakes throughout my journey, but I suppose that is all part of the process. I would say not listening to my body and not fuelling correctly for the work required has been a big issue for me. Also, not strength training from a younger age has been a huge mistake, you can be as fit as you want but if you are not strong enough to manage the workload something is going to eventually break.

Which athlete is the most interesting to follow on social media?

Genevieve Gregson is an Australian steeplechaser who unfortunately has encountered lots of injuries her most recent one happened in the Tokyo Olympic final. She is extremely resilient and despite all her setbacks, refuses to give up.

Do you have a favourite athletics social media post?

Dame Valerie Adams and all of her dancing TikToks!

Which athlete do you most admire from your event?

Alana Barber has been (the 2018 Commonwealth 20km race walks silver medallist) a huge inspiration for myself and others. You will find it hard to come across another athlete as supportive and kind as Alana!  I also really admire Jemima Montag from Australia she is such a wise athlete beyond her years. Quentin Rew is another great walker who has consistently made it to several huge championships. His medal is yet to come!

Lastly, I have to say my fellow Christchurch walkers Laura Langley and my long walk buddy and Roseanne Robinson who are doing great things for walkers in Canterbury.

Outside of athletics what is your greatest accomplishment this year?

Becoming a fully registered primary school teacher has been a big highlight of mine as well as being the healthy active learning leader at my primary school. 

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

High school was a wee while ago for me, so I can’t remember any embarrassing moments thankfully!

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A butterfly because they are always developing and growing and waiting for the right day to fly.

Do you have a nickname?

I have many… my family call me CC or baby bop. In walking circles, I call myself the BFG because I always tend to be a lot taller than the other girls haha

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

To be able to fly! I think that it would be pretty neat. You would be able to fly anywhere in the world.

What is the funniest joke you know?

We are currently teaching our students all about the solar system, so here’s a solar system joke! How does NASA organise a party? They planet.

Where do you see yourself when you are 50?

Hopefully with family still enjoying the great outdoors and going on adventures around New Zealand and the rest of the world.

What is the most ridiculous fact you know?

Continuing on the solar system theme – Saturn has 82 moons.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why?

That everyone has the right to receive an education and the opportunity to become who they want to be.

If you could host a talk show what three guests would you invite and why?

I would have loved to have had Kobe Bryant as I love basketball and he is just a legend! Lisa Carrington because she is just exceptional and Beyonce so we can have a dance party.