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Natalia Hawthorn runs breakout 1,500m in local time trial

Hawthorn ran a 4:07 1,500m on Friday night for her second massive PB this month

Photo by: Natalia Hawthorn/Instagram

Natalia Hawthorn ran the best 1,500m of her life over on Friday night in Vancouver. She ran a 4:07.28 to PB by six seconds only four weeks after she ran a massive 33-second 5,000m personal best of 15:30. The Ontario native moved to Vancouver seven years ago to attend UBC after finishing her career as an OFSAA standout. She ran well throughout university but dealt with a long string of injuries that prevented her from achieving the success she was looking for. However, three years after she graduated, she’s healthy and running better than ever. 

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Hawthorn says UBC was a great experience, but it took a while for the running to click. “I loved the team and the coaching, but I struggled with a series of bone-stress injuries. It was year after year of getting hurt. After I graduated I knew I wanted to continue running so I stayed in Vancouver and with my coach, CJ [Chris Johnson].”

Hawthorn says she ended last year healthier than ever, and it shows in her 2020 results. “After I graduated I went straight into a full-time job. I quickly saw that wasn’t working, so I become a Brooks Running tech representative, which allowed me to have a much more flexible schedule, but I still found myself being pulled in two different directions. Finally, I decided to work part-time to allow myself to focus more on running. I want to see how far I can go. I knew when I was working that I wasn’t getting the most out of myself.”

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She says she started asking herself why she was running and who she was running for after university. “I realized how much running meant to me. I wanted to go all in. My coach’s philosophy is to not rush things, so we took everything slowly and didn’t push my mileage. There was no magic to getting healthy, it just took a lot of patience. The one thing I changed was my strength routine. Instead of working on big muscle groups, I’m working on small muscles to help my posture and form.” Hawthorn adds that having continuity in coaching has also been beneficial. “I’ve been with CJ since my third year, and that consistency has been super helpful.”

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Next year is a big year for runners like Hawthorn, who is hoping to qualify for her first Olympics. She says she’s not sure if she’ll focus more on the 1,500m or 5,000m. “I’ll race both and see what I can do. I lean toward the 1,500m but I’m not ready to settle on one.”

Up next for her is an 800m on Monday, and she’s hoping to break her current PB of 2:07 (and we think, based on her latest results, that’ll be entirely possible). Then on Thursday she’ll run one more time trial, distance to be determined, and then take a much needed break before gearing up for the biggest season of her life. 

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