Papanui’s Nick Moulai runs towards bright future

Papanui middle-distance runner Nick Moulai (right) has a bright future ahead of him. Photo Alan McDonald.

Middle-distance runner Nick Moulai has run himself into a promising future.

The 18-year-old former St Bede’s College student is on the cusp of running for New Zealand in the 1500m at the junior world championships in Finland, and will then take up a four-year scholarship at Mississippi State University in the United States.

Moulai has made the qualifying time for Finland but so have Isaiah Priddey, Samule Tanner and Theo Quax, son of former middle-distance great, Dick Quax.

With only two places up for grabs, Moulai will have to earn his spot with fast times in a couple of prelude races in Europe.

“There’s a lot of quality runners at the moment, which is exciting, but I just have to focus on my preparation and hope that goes well.”

“Life is pretty busy but it’s about managing my time, my training on the roads, and my rest and recovery,” Moulai said.

The former surf lifesaver and sprinter came to middle-distance running six years ago, and has been coached by Graeme Christey ever since.

Their partnership will end when Moulai takes up his scholarship in the US.

The talented teen recently went for a training run with Kiwi Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis, who took time to share some advice,

“Nick said every runner is working hard and putting the training in, but it’s more about the little two per cent things you do that can turn you from a good runner to a great runner,” Moulai said.

“Things like getting nine hours of sleep, doing your stretches, and prioritising recovery all make a big difference.”

Moulai said he was eager to test himself in the US at an NCAA division one school.

“The quality of runners over there is incredible,” he said.

“There are 10 guys running between 3min 36sec and 3min 44sec so it’ll be great to be around that culture.”