National U20 Road Race champion Emerson Deverell has an exciting future ahead of her. Here the teenager from Hamilton City Hawks Athletics offers a glimpse into her world by answering our Five Minutes With questions.
What is your best athletics quality?
I'm highly motivated. I don't tend to miss training. I'm always committed to running. I didn't start until I was 15, and even though I train on my own and I am always motivated to run.
Why would you encourage anyone to try athletics?
I'd say athletics is not all about winning, it is as much about you trying to improve yourself. So, even if you don't win a race you can try and set a PB no matter what level you are at.
Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?
My first coach was Don Willoughby, who is still my coach today. He has lots of experience and he definitely knew how to develop athletes from a young age. He has been very good at not pushing me too hard, too soon.
What are your athletics weaknesses?
Mentally I sometimes struggle with track laps. I tend to prefer doing road and cross country but running laps around a track is definitely something I need to work on.
What is your favourite athletics session?
During track season, I enjoy 400m reps. I don't really have the raw speed for 200m, although I enjoy them.
What is the greatest moment you've seen in an athletics stadium?
Probably Nikki Hamblin winning silver in the 800m and 1500m at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. I remember in the 800m she looked up at the screen, she saw she was last and then went for it. That is probably my standout. It was especially exciting because, like me, she lives in Cambridge.
Who has been your toughest rival?
It has changed quite a bit over time. I wouldn't say any particular person. I would say everyone is my rival.
If you could star in another sport which sport would it be?
Probably rowing. I've grown up with dad being rowing. My dad, Stephen, has always said, 'if you don't want to be a runner, you can always be a lightweight rower.' Growing up in Cambridge (close to Lake Karapiro), rowing is a big sport.
When travelling to a meeting what is the most important item in your suitcase?
Definitely my racing flats for a road race or my spikes for a cross country or track meet. Although when I travelled to Hungary for the World School Cross Country I lost my luggage and because I didn't carry my spike in my hand luggage, it was stressful. Thankfully my suitcase turned up the night before the race.
What is your greatest regret?
I don't have any regrets. I feel like you learn from your mistakes and that you have to live with the decision you make at the time.
Who is the person who most admire?
In running it would be Nikki (Hamblin), but more generally it would my mum, Bridget. She didn't start running until her 40s in masters events, but I could see how much she enjoyed the sport and she was the reason I started running.
What are you most scared of?
I'm scared of heights and as I also do mountain running, that can be an interesting combination. Thankfully I'm quite a cautious person, so it has never led to any major incidents.
What is your favourite movie and why?
I quite enjoyed Wonder Woman. It was good to see a strong female lead role as a super hero.
When was the last time you looked at your athletics medals?
I probably looked at it last weekend (after winning national U20 road race gold) I keep them all in a box but I guess the medals are something I will look at more after I've finished running.