Angie Petty is a 26 year old middle distance runner from New Zealand. She is an Olympian having competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and is the 2015 World University Games Champion. She’s a 6x National 800m Champion, a 2014 Commonwealth Games finalist finishing just outside the medals in 5th. She competed at the World Championships in 2013, 2015 and 2017 and previously competed at both the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships. You can’t argue that her list of achievements is already incredible and to think she’s only just getting started.
Angie told us that she’d always enjoyed running as a child and joined her first club when she was just 10 years old and had her first coach at 13. Angie said she really just progressed from there but it was by no means easy. Sometimes we can assume when we see an athlete on the winning podium or with the medal around their neck, that everything for them must have come easy but certainly for Angie and for most athletes anything worth achieving only ever comes with hard work and she certainly had to work very hard to firstly get to national and then international level. She continued “I had some rough times, especially when I was growing a lot as a child and going from winning most of my races one season, to all of a sudden being near the back of some, that was tough but I persevered and came through”.
Angie told us that growing up she faced a number of challenges, one of those being that she had low self esteem for most of her teenage years, that made things really difficult and at times threatened to throw her off track when it came to achieving her dreams and although she managed to overcome many of those issues, Being gifted and talented in any area as every single person is, doesn’t make you immune to suffering and going through struggles when your younger an even when you become a Succesful world class athlete, things don’t necessarily change completely and Angie bravely admitted that she still struggles with self esteem at times even as an adult today.
It was in her late teens though in 2011 when she told us that she started becoming someone she really didn’t want to be. She was making lots of silly decisions in her life which weren’t good for her health and struggled with sadness to the point of being poorly. We realised that that could have ruined her completely and asked what was the turning point. Angie told us that she began to draw back to God in 2012 and with that she became a lot more peaceful within herself, she also felt in her heart that God had led her to her now husband who really helped her on her journey.
That’s not to say everything was smooth sailing from there. Angie had to recover from glandular fever in 2013, yet remarkably ended up running her fastest time and making it to her first senior World Championships that year. She made her first Olympics in 2016 but following that, disappointingly lost a lot of funding that she desperately needed. In all that though she said that “God has helped me overcome every disappointment, I’ve realised that no matter what the result, God has a plan, he is always there and will never leave me. He loves me and is for me, whether I win or lose.
Angie told us that in being a part of the “Fight for the fatherless” she felt it would be such a blessing to take that opportunity to encourage you guys and be a role model for you. She told us “We all need support from others and I know how much it helps when I get encouragement”. She said, God has given me this gift of running, so I want to use it to help others, Jesus said we should always encourage and build each other up and so I want to do just that.
Angie’s next target is the Commonwealth Games this April in Australia. Which is just a few short weeks away. After that it’s the World Championships next year and then the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 and we can’t wait to see how she does. Angie finished by saying she hopes to keep being the best athlete she can be and to be bolder in sharing her faith and representing the heart of God in helping others.
Thanks Angie for an amazing story and we’ll all be hoping that you have every success in the future.