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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to live in Nelson to join the National Academy of Distance Running?

No. But if you want to reach your potential as a runner, there couldn’t be any place better to train. Nelson has a conducive environment and climate – perhaps better than any other place in the world – for training, an experienced, hands-on coach, and a growing number of athletes to train with. Moving to Nelson will require some sacrifice, but worth the effort if you want to go as fast and as far as you can in the sport.

Can I still pursue a career in my chosen field, if I join the Academy and move to Nelson?

Absolutely. Nelson has a population of 45,000 and at least that many people or more in the neighbouring Tasman District and there are many businesses in the region. Like most cities in New Zealand, professions are very diverse, and work opportunities do exist.

Are there any post-high school educational opportunities I can pursue while training in Nelson with the Academy?

The Nelson-Marborough Institute of Technology is a is a high-quality tertiary education provider that has about 3000 students and offers more than 80 programmes at the certificate, diploma or degree level. Check out their website at

The University of Canterbury offers a College of Education in Nelson with two bachelor degree programmes and a graduate diploma. For more information, click onto

Will I have someone to train with in the Academy?

Whether you have never run a step or you are a world-class runner, you always will have someone to run with. You will be put into a group based on your current level of ability, so you are never running with someone too fast or too slow.

Is there anything else to do in Nelson except run?

Nelson is a culturally diverse city and an outdoor sports mecca – anything from sea and river kayaking to mountain biking to hang gliding. There are beaches, golf courses, tramps, walks, and some of the most beautiful parks in the world. Nelson has a vibrant night life and heaps of quaint pubs, cafes, and restaurants in the town centre and along the waterfront. Nelson is home to the World of Wearable Arts Museum, the Nelson Giants professional basketball team, the Nelson School of Music, the Suter Art Gallery, Theatre Royal, Trafalgar Park, and Saxton Stadium.

How much does it cost to join?

The initial fee is $50, which includes an academy T-shirt. Thereafter, Academy Trainees pay $30 every six months. Turbo Junior, Turbo, and Turbo Elite athletes pay $60 every six months.

Can my teenage son join the academy even though he has never run before?

Many of our nationally-acclaimed junior runners started in Nelson with barely any running experience. Dallas Bowden, New Zealand men’s 16 and under 1,500m record holder, didn’t even own a pair of running shoes when he started. He borrowed pair of old shoes from Coach Lautenslager before he bought his own pair.

Will I compete for NADR or for a club?

You will compete for a club. Most of our members belong to Athletics Nelson, which is a major supporter of the Academy. You must belong to a club to compete in regional and national competitions. The website for Athletics Nelson is:

If I don’t have the desire or the ability to join the Academy, can I still receive assistance with my running?

Yes. Our Turbo Associates Programme will allow you to reach your own personal goals. For a $60 monthly fee, you will be provided a training programme targeted to a particular event and training tips and advice along the way.