Five-time New Zealand 100m hurdles champion Fiona Morrison boasts a proud domestic record. Find out more about the 29-year-old Cantabrian as she answers our Five Minutes With questions.
What is your best athletics quality?
My hurdling technique and speed over the hurdle is one of my strengths. I also love a challenge and am quite mentally tough, so I can run well under pressure.
Why would you encourage anyone to try athletics?
I would strongly encourage everyone to try athletics because it is both a fun and challenging sport. There is nothing better than beating your own personal bests - it gives you a great sense of achievement.
Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?
My coach has always been my sister, Jill Morrison, who has coached me since I was a teenager. She was the person who introduced me to hurdles and who thought I might be suited to the event. I am very lucky because she knows me so well both on and off the track and we work very well together.
What are your athletics weaknesses?
I have always needed to work on my sprint speed. My hurdling differential has always been pretty good so in order to make big improvements I need to increase my speed at the start of the race and in between the hurdles.
What is the funniest things you’ve seen on an athletics track?
I’ve seen some pretty funny hurdle falls over the years. Fortunately, I haven’t been a part of too many. But the best would have to be the NZ Nationals final last year with Leanna Ryan having to also hurdle over Rochelle Coster in her lane to finish the race.
What is your favourite athletics session?
Definitely hurdles day would be my favourite session. I only hurdle once or twice a week so I get quite excited! We usually do a few running hurdle drills at speed, some block starts of up to six hurdles and finish with some short sprint reps.
What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed in an athletics stadium?
Sally Pearson winning the 100m, 200m and the 100m Hurdles at Australian Nationals in 2011.
Who has been your toughest rival?
Interestingly my toughest rival has also been one of my good friends, Rochelle Coster. Having each other has been the best thing for both of us as we are both extremely competitive and have pushed each other to achieve times we may never have run otherwise.
If you could star in another sport which sport would it be?
It would have to be hockey as I played that for most of my life making NZ age-group teams. Quite a lot of the girls I used to play with at school now feature for the Black Sticks. I’d love to be back on the field and part of a team again. It is a great sport that involves speed, fitness, technique and skill.
When travelling to a meeting what is the most important item in your suitcase?
My spikes! Everything else can be replaced easily or borrowed but having my own running spikes is important.
What is your greatest regret?
That’s tricky because you never know how things might have worked out if you had done things differently – it could be better or worse. So, I try not to focus on what could have been and more on what could still be.
Who is the person you most admire?
Jessica Ennis-Hill. She is a great role model and living proof that hard work pays off. She is not only a great heptathlete but also an amazing hurdler. I really enjoyed reading her book and about how she overcame injury setbacks and body image issues.
What are you most scared of?
Needles. I hate getting blood tests. Although I have learned to deal with needles for acupuncture - the key is distraction!
What is your favourite movie and why?
I’m a bit old school but I like 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s a modern version of Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, but set in an American high school. And, well, who wouldn’t want to watch Heath Ledger (she laughs).
When was the last time you looked at your athletics medals?
Probably when I was cleaning out my old room at my parents’ place. I had kept them all in a box in a cupboard. It was cool looking back at some of my first medals and achievements and to see how far I had come.