Holding the title of fastest New Zealand woman, 21-year-old sprinter Zoe Hobbs is clearly driven to succeed.
The talented and hard working athlete smashed her way into the record books (and the public eye) this year, breaking Michelle Seymour’s longstanding 100m record by a whisker of a tenth of a second for a time of 11.42s. A week later in Hawke’s Bay, she then went on to break that record again, at an impressive 11.37s.
While the achievement is undoubtedly a career highlight, it is also a fitting reward for a sprinter who has made personal and professional sacrifices to train and compete at this level.
A self-confessed ‘sporty kid’, Zoe enthusiastically (and successfully) played many sports during her childhood, and says she has been passionate about athletics for as long as she can remember. “I got so much enjoyment from all the sports I played, but sprinting/ running was what I was best at – which is why I chose to pursue it. Athletics continues to challenge me every single day, but that’s what makes the small (and big) wins feel 100 times more worth it at the end of the day”.
Being able to represent New Zealand is particularly meaningful, something Zoe first experienced at just 11-years-old.
Zoe acknowledges that running is not an easy sport to succeed at on the world stage, but that challenge is partly what fuels her to keep working for it.
“It has been many decades since a New Zealand woman competed at the Olympic Games in sprinting, and it would be awesome if I could be the next woman from New Zealand to achieve that” she says.
Q. Can you describe the feeling of breaking the NZ Woman’s 100m resident record?
A. I didn’t even know i had done it at the time. I was so fixated on achieving a personal best that it didn’t cross my mind. It wasn’t until a coach congratulated me on running a NZ record that I realised. There’s no better feeling than producing results you work so hard for. It justifies all the hard sessions leading in, and gets kind of addictive from thereafter, because you just want more and more.
Q. What’s been the hardest moment in your career?
A. Injuries and setbacks of any kind always suck. It’s often more mentally tough to deal with than the physical side of things, and can get extremely draining if not managed well. I’ve been working on being more mindful in my approach to these sorts of situations. Some things are out of your control. You just have to accept that and focus on the controllables instead.
Q. How do you maintain peak performance.
A. Nutrition is an aspect of performance that I take pretty seriously. It’s something I’m willing to invest my time and energy into, as it’s super important for my sport to make sure I’m fueled the best I can be – to maintain training load as well as perform at my best. My passion for food led me to study it at university as part of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Human Nutrition. I’ve been taking Nuzest Clean Lean Protein for more than two years now. As soon as I tried it, I was in love and have never gone back to any other brand or type since. I’m very cautious about supplements, but when I’m consuming Nuzest products I’m at ease as it’s a brand I know I can trust. Getting good recovery from nutrition is really important and I’m grateful Nuzest can help me out with that.
Q. Any advice for younger up-and-coming track stars or athletes?
A. Enjoy whatever you chose to do, whether that be running (or other). Stick at it and be consistent in your training. There will always be less enjoyable days – days where you may hate it, but you still need to show up and do your best. I find it helps if you set yourself small challenges every training that you can accomplish. It might seem insignificant at first, but it will keep your mind focused and over time you will see improvements.
As published in Inspo Magazine, May 2019
Photo – Alisha Lovrich