Athletics: Priddey's numbers tell story of success

By Steve Landells

Isaiah Priddey at the NZ Champs 3000m. Photo / Temposhot, Alisha Lovrich
Isaiah Priddey at the NZ Champs 3000m. Photo / Temposhot, Alisha Lovrich

Teenage middle-distance talent Isaiah Priddey has set an avalanche of PB's and won a slew of titles in a spectacular season including the 1500m and 3000m double at last weekend's North Island Secondary Schools Championships. Steve Landells speaks to the 16-year-old to plot his career through the power of numbers.

1994 - The year Isaiah Priddey's father, Vaughan, enjoyed his best ever result as a senior athlete when finishing sixth in the men's 800m final at the New Zealand nationals. His lifetime best for the distance was 1:51.6.

Vaughan is also Isaiah's coach and the 16-year-old Hamilton City Hawks athlete insists he is lucky to be guided by his father.

"Because we live together we can conveniently talk race tactics than I if I had a coach who didn't live with me," says Isaiah. "He always believes we can do better, but he is also aware that if something is too tough he will pull back. He won't thrash me in training."

17 - The number of seconds Isaiah has remarkably slashed from his 1500m PB over the course of the 2015-16 season. He went into the campaign with a metric mile PB of 4:09 but ran his existing PB of 3:52.12 set at the Porritt Classic.

It has been a staggering improvement and one which has genuinely shocked 'Team Priddey.'

"The goal was to get close to the four-minute mark as possible, so we didn't expect to run so quickly," adds Isaiah.

10 - The age in years when Isaiah first started athletics, inspired to run by watching his older brother by three years, Jacob, compete. Jacob enjoyed great success winning the 2013 national under-20 3000m title. Now aged 19, Jacob is still an active runner and attends Butler University in Indiana.

0 - The number of 3000m track races Isaiah had run before this season. However, this year Priddey has ran over the seven-and-a-half lap distance on nine occasions whittling his PB down from 8:57.14 to 8:29.57.

There is little doubt in Isaiah's mind that his form over 3000m has played a key role in his development over the metric mile.

"I've gained a lot more strength from the 3k which has enabled me to go at a faster pace for longer," he explains.

6 - The number of days per week Isaiah trains. A Monday would involve a run plus core training with Tuesday a long rep session. Wednesday would be another run followed on a Thursday with a shorter rep session. Friday would be a rest day followed by either a race/time trial or rep session on a Saturday and another run on a Sunday. He racks up an average of between 50-60 kilometres per week.

232 - The number of seconds (3:52.12) it took Isaiah to run the 1500m at his home track at Porritt Classic in February - a performance which he rates as his favourite against the watch. "I was paced by Hamish Carson and to not feel any pain until the late stages of the race made it a race I could enjoy," he adds. "To knock five seconds from my PB was amazing."

31 - The number of seconds (well, very nearly) that Isaiah dismantled from his previous mile best - of 4:44.44 set in 2013 - at the Auckland Track Challenge. In what was only his second ever mile appearance over the imperial distance he ran 4:13.59 to beat Dick Tayler's New Zealand best mile time for a 15-year-old of 4:18.6 set in 1964. "I was ecstatic to break a record from a legend like Dick (the 1974 Commonwealth 10,000m champion)," says Isaiah. "It was amazing."

17 - His disappointing finishing position at last year's Australian Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Melbourne, which he says acted as a kick-start for his outstanding track season.

"It really set my confidence back, but I said to myself I don't want that feeling again. This helped motivate me in training to set some good times on the track."

2024 - The year of the Olympic Games Isaiah has identified as the one where he hopes to make his debut.

"I will be aged 24 then and I hope to be at my peak." Before then a shorter term goal for the Hamilton Boys High School athlete is to enjoy a good cross country season beginning with the World Schools Cross Country Championships in Hungary later this month. In what will be his first ever European trip he is targeting a top 20 position.

167 - The height in centimetres of the relatively diminutive Isaiah. However, aged 16 he still has some growing to do and insists "I have actually put quite a bit of a spurt on during the holidays," he insists.

13 - The total number of PBs Isaiah has set in total during a staggering 2015-16 track campaign. He has posted one PB for the 800m, one for the 1000m, four over the 1500m distance, one over the mile and six in the 3000m, according to the New Zealand Athletics Rankings site.

- NZ Herald

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