Best of January 2019: 2019 New Balance Indoor GP Diary: Gabby Thomas answers 21 questions from RunBlogRun

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522408.jpgGabby Thomas, photo by New Balance Communications

Posted 1-07-2019

Updated 12-24-2019

This interview was done last January 2019. It was done prior to the 2019 NB indoor GP. Do not miss the 2020 NB Indoor GP, which will be on January 25, 2020! It is one of my favorite meets.

Gabby Thomas is an NCAA sprint champion for Harvard. She is now a professional athlete for New Balance. New Balance has a small group of elite athletes, and Gabby Thomas is one of their first sprinters. She is represented by Paul Doyle. We were interested in Gabby Thomas for several reasons, among them, that Gabby will debut as a New Balance TC member at the 2019 New Balance Indoorr GP, which will be held on Januayr 26, 2019 at the iconic Reggie Lewis Center.

Tickets for the event on January 26, which forms part of the IAAF World Indoor Tour, are now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.


RunBlogRun, # 1. Gabby, how old were you when you began track and field?

Gabby Thomas: I began running track and field when I was 13. My mom forced me to try it instead of softball and it stuck!

522407.jpgGabby Thomas, photo by New Balance Communications

RunBlogRun, # 2. You ran 11.71 in high school, tell us about how you ran the 100m in high school?

Gabby Thomas: In high school, my strategy was to just run as fast and as hard as I can. There wasn't too much strategy to any of it. I wasn't very aware of my technique and body positioning the way that I am now. Coming out of the blocks for me in high school wasn't very pretty. I guess it could still use work.

RunBlogRun, # 3. You ran 24.2 in 200m in high school, how did you run the 200m in high school?

Gabby Thomas: The 200m was the same strategy, which was no strategy. I ran as fast as I could for as long as I could! Each meet I aimed to get a new PR.

RunBlogRun, # 4. How did you do the lj and tj in high school?

Gabby Thomas: The LJ and TJ were my fun events. I would use my speed that I had from the 100/200m and just jump, which is similar to what I did in college. Not too much technique there, either.

RunBlogRun, # 5. You went to Williston Northampton, a boarding school, tell us about that experience? (i was a dorm monitor at Bellarmine,
a Jesuit hs boarding school, where I coached track).

Gabby Thomas: I was actually a day student at this boarding school. Going to a boarding school is an amazing experience because I have met friends from so many different places, and it exposed me to different types of people, different cultures, different ideas, and shaped me into who I am today.

RunBlogRun, #6. Tell us about your hs coach?

Gabby Thomas: I had a couple of coaches throughout my time in high school. My first high school coach left after my freshman year, then I had Coach Lawson, and my final two years I had Coach McCullagh, who I'm still in touch with today. I had pretty close relationships with my coaches because at Williston, the coaches are also your teachers, dorm parents, advisors, etc. Coach McCullagh and I ended up developing a really close relationship because she not only coached me on the track, but she also taught me algebra and gave me college advice, and ended up writing my college letter of recommendation. I also think before she came to coach the tea, I thought of track as a fun activity to do after school, and by the time she came, we started doing challenging workouts and I started to take track a little more seriously.

RunBlogRun, #7. What was the toughest part of moving from hirrgh school to college?

Gabby Thomas: The toughest part for me academically was the rigor of the work and the lack of the support system. In high school, the support system was so accessible, especially at my high school, and in college, you're kinda of just on your own to figure it out. Athletically, it was a different world. Instead of practicing for an hour and a half, I was practicing for three hours, and those hours were hard. I was also struggling to find enough hours in the day to study, work, do sports, and spend time with friends. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it all four years.

RunBlogRun, #8. How would you differentiate your approach to track in high school vs college?

Gabby Thomas: My approach is completely different. In high school, it was completely fun and games to me. I would show up to meet day and then decide, "okay, it's time to win. Now, instead of just bringing that mindset to meets, I bring it to practice everyday. Everyday I have to tell myself, "okay, it's time to win." I've learned to work so much harder that I thought that I could have, and I've learned a lot more about how the journey to success looks.

In high school, I liked tracked, but now I've actually found my passion in running.

RunBlogRun, #9. What would you tell young athletes about juggling academics and athletics in college?

Gabby Thomas: I would tell them that you can do anything. It may be challenging, but if it isn't challenging you, then you're doing something wrong. There were a lot of days where I just didn't want to do it anymore, and I would compare my life to others' and to what they were doing, but at the end of the day there's so much reward in being a student-athlete.

RunBlogRun, #10. What do you love about Harvard?

Gabby Thomas: What I love most about Harvard is how inspiring everyone around me is. The people are brilliant--they're professional athletes, published authors, creating start-ups, running nonprofits, and starting their own hedge funds...and so much more. It always pushes me to be the best version of myself that I can and to constantly strive for excellence in whatever I'm doing.

522406.jpgGabby Thomas, photo by New Balance communications

RunBlogRun, #11. Tell us about working with coach Kebba Tolbert?

Gabby Thomas: Working with Coach Tolbert has definitely been rewarding. I don't think either of us really knew what to expect from me when I stepped onto Harvard's track as a freshman. I think that working with him definitely motivated me to strive for "greatness" because he's always using that term. I remember running PRs freshman year or winning races, and he would say, "it was pretty good, but not great." And he would always ask us what we thought it took to be great. Then, after a while, I started reallry thinking about what it would take to be great. And I realized that I did have the potential to be great. So I think in that way, he's very motivating. He is also a very knowledgeable and exceptional coach. To find this type of coaching at a place like Harvard is just so rare and special, so I'm very grateful.

RunBlogRun, #12. What is the biggest improvement that you have made over the 100 meters?

Gabby Thomas: The biggest improvement that I've made is my approach to the race. It requires way more strategy than people think. It requires patience and discipline. The fastest person on the line may not win the race, but the person who runs the race the smartest will.

RunBlogRun, #13. What is the biggest improvement you have made over the 200 meters?

Gabby Thomas: In the 200m, I had just made so many improvements in not only my discipline, but in my mechanics and mindset. The difference in poor/good mechanics can make a whole second difference in a race, so definitely focusing on that. Also, I have grown to love this race so much, that my mindset towards it also affects the outcome.

RunBlogRun, #14. Can you describe the excitement of racing indoors?

Gabby Thomas: I have grown to really enjoy the environment of racing indoors. The setting is a lot more condensed and smaller, so the energy on the track is heightened. You can hear people cheering. The vibe is completely different, and it's a lot of fun racing on indoor tracks.

RunBlogRun, #15. What is your favorite distance to race?

Gabby Thomas: My favorite distance to race is definitely the 200m.

RunBlogRun, #16. Tell us about your NCAA title on 200 meters?

Gabby Thomas: Getting the NCAA title in the 200m was a dream come true. It meant a lot to me because I had been working so hard that season and every training session was focused and determined. When I got to the meet, I had already told myself that the title was mine, and all I had to do was run my race and get it. It especially meant a lot to me because coming from Harvard, people overlook and underestimate me. I think my favorite part of my success is how many people are seeing that you can do both, and I want to show everyone that you can have success athletically, but it doesn't mean giving up being excellent in other parts of your life too, especially education.

RunBlogRun, #17. How did it change your running?

Gabby Thomas: If anything, it was very motivating. Seeing all of my hard work pay off like that is definitely a reason to keep going, and to keep fighting to be at the top even when people don't expect you to. It also made me believe in myself a lot.r

RunBlogRun, #18. How has it been becoming a pro athlete?

Gabby Thomas: So far so good! I've meet a lot of people and gained a bigger track network, which is important to me because I didn't run competitively in high school and there aren't a lot of professionals coming out of the Ivy League. It's been a lot of fun for me so far, though, and I can't wait to start my first season as a pro.

RunBlogRun, #19. Tell us about New Balance and meeting with them?

Gabby Thomas: I've been sponsored by New Balance my entire running career (since they sponsored Harvard), so I was very excited to hear from them. They're located in Boston, so I got to meet the team in person, which was really exciting. My favorite part about New Balance is how it really feels like a family and all of the athletes were so welcoming and kind when I signed, and I've been able to talk to so many of them, and they love running for New Balance. I'm really happy to have signed with them.

RunBlogRun, #20. What are you training in and racing in?

Gabby Thomas: Right now, I'm training in the FuelCell Impulse because I love how light and secure they are. I haven't picked my spikes to race in for this season yet!

RunBlogRun, #21. Tell us about your excitement in the NB Indoor GP?

Gabby Thomas: I am so excited to run at the NB Indoor GP since it'll be my debut as a pro! It's also right at home for me, in Boston. I plan on running the 300m and I just can't wait to run my first race as part of the New Balance team.

Gabby Thomas will be competing in the 2019 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

Tickets for the event on January 26, which forms part of the IAAF World Indoor Tour, are now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

The 2019 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix kicks off at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College and is the only U.S. stop on the IAAF World Indoor Tour. The series of six international events with stops in Karlsruhe (Germany), Torun (Poland), Madrid (Spain), Birmingham (Great Britain) and Dusseldorf (Germany) awards overall tour winners $20,000 and a guaranteed spot at the next edition of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, 2020.

Now in its 24th year, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix has played host to nine world records and 13 American records.

About New Balance


New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. Manufactured in the U.S. for over 75 years and representing a limited portion of our U.S. sales, New Balance Made U.S. is a premium collection that contains a domestic value of 70% or greater. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 6,000 associates around the globe, and in 2017 reported worldwide sales of $4 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com and for the latest press information please visit http://newbalance.newsmarket.com.

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