We are excited to welcome Sabrina Grogan and Sophie Smith to the Altra New Zealand team. In a two part blog, the girls let us know about their background and plans as they prepare for the 2018 World Trail Running Championships in Andorra.
Athletic talent may run in the family, but Sabrina Grogan has shown she has something special on the trails.
I've had a pretty awesome time since I started running in 2014. I was 20 back then, and I was just a bit over being the least fit one on the football field. My whole family runs, my mum (Glenys Kroon) has represented New Zealand on multiple occasions for cross country and road running, and my younger sister Anneke is on scholarship at SMU in the US. Despite that, up until I was 20 I hated running. It all started joining my sister for her warm ups, what was for me some the most grueling 20 minutes of my life. I stuck with it though and slowly built up ( I think not building up too fast is absolutely key) to running my first 'fun run' at the end of that year. From then I was hooked, and before I knew it I was a runner through and through. I loved the grind of the hills and that adrenaline rush that you get from trail running and decided to have a crack at the NZ Mountain running champs. After a taste of 3rd in 2016 I came back to take out the Senior Womens title in 2017 and 2018.
Last year I was honored to get the chance to represent NZ at the World Mountain Running Champs in Italy. It was incredible and I was pretty stoked to come away with 33rd out of 68 runners. Otherwise, its been a good last two years of running. I have won the Goat Tongariro for the past 2 years (favorite race so far - very, very technical) and did the same for Tois Challenge over in Whakatane. This year I also won the run leg of the Mt Isobel Challenge and the Taranaki off-road half marathon. On the flat, things havent been going too bad either, I won the Hanmer 10km this year, and got a new PB at the Christchurch half marathon for 10km (38.01).
Next up is the Wellington half marathon! Its definitely a different battle when its flat, but I enjoy doing that kind of race occasionally. I am also off to the World Champs again, and really excited for an all up hill course! At the end of the year it is going to be a really tough decision between the Goat again or trying out the Luxmore Grunt.
As for team Altra, it was people like Mel Aitken (the legend) who first made me take notice. Overall, mint shoes, mint people - what more to like! Being on the team is a bit like having another layer of support, everyone is very friendly but I also think it will help to push me along as well. I'm pretty keen for people to look outside that Nike shoe box for their perfect shoes, and Altras are a great option.