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Student story

Angie Petty

20 July 2023

"I have always wanted to be a teacher, so the BA in Education was a great option..."


Bachelor of Arts in Education

Professional Athlete

After a year off training and competing in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Angie is focused on her running, but enthusiastic about her other ambition – to become a teacher.

"I train six days a week, and I absolutely love it! During term time I am busy studying as well. I really like that balance between running and studying, as I need some outside stimulation," she says.

"I have always wanted to be a teacher, but I thought the three-year full-time teaching degree would be too full-on with my running schedule and travelling the world to race, so the BA in Education was a great option – and meant I could take courses in other subjects as well, which has been really interesting. I can then go on to do a postgraduate teaching qualification."

Angie spends a lot of time away from home with her sport, and has benefited from the flexible structure of her degree.

"I can choose how many courses I take each semester, so I have time to train and compete as well as work towards my degree. Most winters I am away in Europe competing, but it has been quite manageable."

Angie's running has led to her competing on the world stage, and she hopes to continue all the way to the top.

"My ultimate goal is to win an Olympic Gold for New Zealand at the 2020 Olympic Games. I have many other goals including winning Commonwealth Gold and breaking the New Zealand 800m record of 1.58.35 set by Toni Hodgkinson, my hero, in 1996! My personal best is currently 1.59.06, so I hope to be under that soon!"

After suffering glandular fever, which put her out of action for a while, Angie came back strongly, coming fourth in the 800m and fifth in the 1500m at the World University Games in Russia.

"I also qualified for the World Champs in Moscow, where I got to hang out with Valerie Adams, Nick Willis and other amazing athletes."

Another career highlight has been competing at the London Diamond League in front of a full stadium of 68,000. "I got to meet Usain Bolt there – it was awesome."

She has since added a lot more impressive moments to her career – including a Gold Medal for the 800m in the 2015 World University Games in Korea; being a finalist in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow; winning 6 senior national titles; and earning the New Zealand 1000m record.

Angie has found plenty of support for her running at UC. "There are great sports facilities on campus – I can get VO2 max testing and I love being able to use the gym here. I have been involved with UC Sport, and have had great support from lecturers, such as being able to sit an exam overseas."

Now happily married to Sam Petty, Angie fills her remaining spare time with the special people in her life. "I spend lots of time with my family and friends and I am quite involved with my church, Arise, which is awesome and like my extended family. I also love skiing and being in the outdoors, or being indoors watching sport, baking, reading or watching a good movie – or doing something crazy like sky diving!"

Angie advises new students to try not to juggle too much at first "because it is a big change from school and you need to keep up with lectures – but do use this time to take up something new. It's great to have balance and not just be inside studying all day."

She adds that tough times, as she has had with illness or bad races, "make us stronger", so "don't give up on your dreams – you can get there!"

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