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About the Academy

The National Academy of Distance Running was launched in August 2009 as a registered charitable trust with the aim of providing world-class coaching to athletes of all ages and making Nelson the running centre for world-class athletes.


Simply, there is no better place in the world to train. The city has miles and miles of running trails right out your front door. They traverse along rivers and streams, up hills and mountains, around beaches and bays. A new million dollar Mondo track was recently built at Saxton Field, and construction will start soon on a 3.8 million pavilion and grandstand. Within an hour’s drive from the city you will find even more dramatic trails at the Abel Tasman National Park in one direction and the Nelson Lakes National Park in the other.

Then there is the climate – mild winters and summers rarely forces runners to train in anything other than T-shirt and shorts. The air is clean and crisp and the surrounding mountains protect the area from adverse wind conditions. Read more


The Academy’s Coach and Director, Greg Lautenslager, is a former world-class runner whose Nelson-based athletes have collected 205 national medals and many New Zealand individual and team titles, and several records. His Lydiard approach to training comes from 40 years in the sport and coaches – like Dick Quax, Bob Sevene, and Dr. Robert Vaughan – who trained him and personal advice from several other Lydiard disciples and Arthur Lydiard himself. Lautenslager devises long-term training schedules for his athletes and puts them on the path to world-class running. Read more


Runners join NADR during one of three time periods:
1) Secondary Schools – Runners just starting out, runners who have competed in children’s athletics or in other events and runners who have moved to Nelson from other parts of the country or the world.

2) Post-high school/college – Runners not intending to pursue university study. They come to Nelson to work and/or attend the Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology.

3) Post-university – Runners from universities in New Zealand, the United States and from all over the world who want to continue their running careers.


The NADR format is tiered in levels on the Turbo Programme. Runners accepted into the programme will be placed into the appropriate level and will be elevated to next level, based on their performance and commitment to the programme. Adults hoping only to reach personal goals and/or top age group performances are encouraged to come to the training sessions and can obtain training advice and a schedule through our Turbo Associates programme. Read more


To apply for membership in the academy, fill out the Application Form (link to Application Form page) and send it back. Please contact us for further information at +64 3 923 2321.


We welcome all overseas teams and individual runners. If you want to make Nelson your training base for the upcoming season or a targeted events, we can assist you with whatever you need. We can help with finding accommodation, directing you to the best running trails and parks, setting up training times at the track, arranging transport in and around Nelson, and anything we can do to help make your training stint successful.

We regard Nelson – with its environment, climate, and training facilities and trails – to be the best year-round place in the world to train. Runners from all around the globe – including a group of Japanese marathoners – have come to Nelson for training.