News & Updates

6 October 2021 • General

Q and A with Nancy Jiang

Nancy Jiang competing at the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc OCC 2019

The reigning New Zealand mountain running champion is next in line to tackle our Q and A segment. Here the 30-year-old Hamilton City Hawks athlete talks everything from veggie gardens to her future goal to live in a log cabin in the mountains. 

Why did you start athletics? 

I started running because it was part of the primary school curriculum. It turned out I enjoyed it and my teacher wanted me to participate in the inter school cross country and on athletics day. The rest is history

What was the last piece of athletics advice you received? 

My coach said to me before a night trail race two weeks ago ‘sounds dangerous, don’t roll an ankle’. I rolled my ankle.

What has been your career highlight? 

Representing New Zealand in the 2018 World Mountain Running Championships. It was my first time competing in a championship and first time representing New Zealand. I placed 15th.

What has been your athletics low? 

I have always known what my goals are and what my target races are but with Covid and events getting cancelled its been difficult to stay motivated and focused with training.

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

I would like to have inspired others to take up running and to be a mentor for the next generation of kiwi runner.

What is your greatest mistake in athletics? 

Racing too much, running too much and having too many back-to-back seasons with no off period. It is hard to stop and rest when you are running well and smashing races. But it’s not sustainable. I didn’t slow down so I crashed hard. I was worn out, broken and drained mentally after three years back-to-back seasons.

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

Nicole Baker. She is a mountain biker who started a non-profit organisation called Path of Logic to support pathology residents working at a regional hospital in Uganda. Her work has helped the medical system in Uganda detect cancer, and other treatable illnesses before it is too late and saved many lives. She also cycles across Uganda dropping off solar powered lights to all the farming villages. 

Do you have a favourite athletics social media post? 

Everything that ultra-trail runner Lucy Bartholomew posts.  Her posts are honest and thoughtful, she has a very positive perspective.

If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be and why? 

How awesome would it be to have trail running in the Olympics. They have track cycling, road cycling and cross country. Makes sense to me to have track, road and trail in running as well.

Which athlete do you most admire from your event? 

Ruth Croft. She has the strongest mental strength of anyone I know

Outside of athletics what is your greatest accomplishment this year? 

Starting a vegetable garden. It’s actually become more than that now. I have a fruit orchard out the front and a native New Zealand plant garden is well. 

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school? 

A neighbour saw me sneaking out of the house to go clubbing. They told my parents and I was grounded for a long time!

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

A dog. I think I was one in a past life. I like running around, can sniff out my favourite food a mile away and get excited when I see a large pinecone on the trail.

Do you have a nickname? 

Midget. Hahaha

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

I would create copies of myself when I want to and then merge back into one. I could get more done in a day that way!

Where do you see yourself when you are 50? 

Living in a log cabin in the mountains on a large section where I can grow everything I need. On the popular hiking routes in Europe these cabins are refuges where hikers can stay for the night. They get fed dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch. Most of these places are very remote so everything comes from the farm on the refuge. I want do something like that. 

What is the most ridiculous fact you know? 

The toothpaste that sits on your toothbrush is called a nurdle.

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

I would eliminate greed. I think it is the cause of a lot of problems

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

Elon Musk, David Chang, the chef on Ugly Delicious, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Because there is a lot I want to learn from them.