Hi, my name is Liliana Braun. I am a middle distance track and cross country runner.
I placed 7th in the NZ secondary schools cross country champs last month qualifying me for the NZ secondary schools cross country team. We are competing at the Australian cross country champs in Wollongong in August. I am very proud to represent my country at this event.
I made this team in 2017 where I placed 21st in the individual race and 6th in the time trial. I also made the team in 2018 but sadly had to pull out due to a couple of injuries in the build up to the event. I am really hoping to better my placings from those in 2017. I am working towards qualifying for the world junior athletic champs in 2020 which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya and so am very keen to embrace any opportunities I can, to get more race experience.
From a young age I have loved being active and participating in sports. I have played and competed in football, tennis, cricket, triathlon, duathlon, cycling and running. In year 6 I made the Canterbury cross country team which travelled to Wellington to compete at the interregional champs. This opened my eyes to the joy of running and competing and I have not looked back since. At the age of 13 I joined a club, Port Hills Athletic, where I began to train throughout the week and compete in the cross country races in winter on a Saturday.
My first taste of national competition was the AIMS games, held in Tauranga for intermediate aged students. I went into that race with no expectations or idea of who I was up against and ended up winning. As a year 8 this made me feel quite determined to pursue this sport more seriously. While still playing football and tennis, I would also race on a Saturday and by the first year of high school I had placed second in both the New Zealand cross country and athletics champs. The following year I also placed second in these events. In year 11 I gained my first double national title in the Senior girls 3000m and 2000m steeplechase at the New Zealand secondary schools athletics champs. That year I also made the New Zealand team cross country team as I mentioned earlier.
Last year, as a year 12 student, I was also awarded Sportsperson of the year for my school (Cashmere High) and was a finalist for the Canterbury ZONTA awards. These were both great honours which I felt very fortunate to receive. This year I won a national title in the 3000m steeplechase at the NZ club champs, and went onto the Australian club champs in Sydney where I placed second in both the 3000m steeplechase and the 3000m.
I have got to where I am today due to the ongoing support and belief which my family, friends and coaches have in me. My coach, Maria Hassan has always had my best interests at heart, being careful not to push me too hard, too young, which could lead to burning out. My sprint coach Lyndon has also helped me come far as sprinting has always been my weaker area. I am also extremely grateful to my training squad, who I train with three times a week and who constantly push me to be the best athlete I can be and make training fun. I am also thankful to my club, Port Hills Athletics, who continuously support my goals and provide great racing. I am very grateful to Braun, Bond and Lomas who sponsored me to get to the Australian Athletics champs in March. My parents are extremely supportive and encouraging and have helped fund or fundraise for my many trips around the country and across to Australia.