At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Sam Tanner was on the radar of New Zealand sports fans.photo/photo campaign
Sam Tanner isn’t afraid to dream big.
Just weeks after the best season of his burgeoning career, the New Zealand track star is already focused on what’s next.
after surf repair
And maybe some other extreme sport, Tanner will ease back into high-intensity training with two long-term national records in mind.
He wants a chance to improve on John Walker’s iconic 3.49.08-mile mark, which has been around for 40 years — “that’s going to be a really cool record” — and Nick Willis’ national benchmark of 1.5 billion meters . 3.29.66, set in 2015.
“You have to play the right game to attack that era,” Tanner told the Weekend Herald. “But for the next year or the next few years, those are the two big things I’m trying to achieve in terms of time. Beyond that, [the goal] is to be more aggressive — especially at the World Championships — and allow himself [in the mix] for a medal. “
From any other 22-year-old, that might seem like a false bluff, but Tanner has proven this year that he’s the real deal, New Zealand’s most exciting mid-range prospect since Willis in the early 2000s.
Tanner achieved a remarkable 3.31.34 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, cutting his personal best by more than three seconds in the 1500m final as he finished sixth in a strong field.
A few weeks later, he posted the second fastest time of his career at 3.33.67, finishing eighth in his Swiss Diamond League debut.
Before last year’s Tokyo Olympics, Tanner was 55th in the 1500 meters; now he’s 14th.
“It’s very exciting. It’s hard to understand what I’ve achieved.”
TonAnner has come a long way. Not long ago, he was driving a logging truck during the summer or college break at Pukepine, the Te Puke sawmill owned by his father.
“I’ll work there as much as possible so I can afford the fuel and race all over the country,” Tanner said. “It’s true that sometimes it’s challenging; to train and still get the job done. But sometimes, I’m lucky enough to be able to drive the wood loader and load the mill.”
He was still there to help when he could, but those days are gone. After two years at the University of Washington, Tanner is now a full-time athlete and has struck a deal with German giant Puma.
His gratitude resonated throughout the interview — “I know I’m lucky to be playing all over the world” — and he’s enjoying his first year as a pro.
The biggest difference compared to the countless games played by American college teams is the ability to schedule one’s own route with a less intense schedule.
“I’m free to choose the games that fit my schedule and the way I want to be at the top, the way we want to be. [ranking] point, in the easiest and most efficient way. “
It was also his first life experience on an international circuit, often mingling with athletes he used to admire from a distance.
“I saw people around me and I thought, ‘Man, I’ve seen you play for years, seen you win the Diamond League and the World Championship, I can’t believe I’m here to play you and actually give you A good profit’.
“It’s cool to play against them, but chat with them while warming up and relaxing; especially with 1.5 billion people having a great camaraderie.”
Tanner also enjoyed the opportunity to see the world. There’s the history and magnificence of London, the stunning alpine scenery of Lausanne and the opulence of Monaco, where he swims and snorkels with New Zealand high jump champion Hamish Cole.
“I’ve always loved cars and high-performance stuff, and it’s pretty cool to see some money thrown around in that city and how beautiful the Mediterranean is.”
TonAnna has time with him.
He’s a late bloomer and has been playing the sport “seriously” since 2017.
He played track “just for fun” and weird high school cross country as a kid, but was more interested in surfing, snowboarding and mountain biking.
“They’re fun, but may benefit my cardio fitness without my knowledge and allow me to grow as an athlete.”
His progress has been remarkable.
Five years ago, his 1500m personal best was 3.50.05, and it wasn’t until last January that he got better than 3.38.
He’s gifted; it’s now to give his legs more volume and flexibility, as his training workload isn’t yet comparable to the elite.
“I’m working with [Olympic champion] Jakob Ingebrigtsen asked me about my training after the Diamond League. I told him what numbers I ran and he said, ‘Oh my God, you’re probably one of the most talented 1.5 billion runners this year’.
“I was like, ‘Wow, thanks, bro’. Like it doesn’t matter because he’s a champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and maybe a little bit intimidating.
“But it’s very encouraging for him. There’s definitely room to grow in terms of volume and training, which is huge in terms of strength and endurance.”
Tanner returned home last week, just before coach Craig Kirkwood sent an email with his latest training schedule.
“It says ‘surf Monday, surf Tuesday, surf Wednesday, surf Thursday, surf Friday’. I’m very happy about that. Good waves too.”
Tanner is a surfer fanatic, but given his sporting pursuits, he has to set boundaries.
“It would change a little if [the surf] Launching, but usually a week ago [heavy training or racing], I will stop surfing. Just to keep my shoulders fresh because when you’re doing speed work you need those arms to work otherwise you’re going to get lactic acid very quickly. “
Last week was his only full week off as he loosened up some “garbage miles” to keep his legs running ahead of the upcoming massive season, with the 2023 World Championships in Budapest the main focus, and the diamonds in North America Leagues and key events on the swing.
“I think I’m in the top 10 in the world this year, in terms of time. So it’s going to be really cool to play against the big guys and see what we have, because 1500 is half the time of anyone’s game.”
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