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Nicole Fagan racing ahead

Author: Athletics NSW Administrator/Tuesday, 16 August 2011/Categories: News

16 August 2011


Nicole Fagan racing ahead


Last summer season one of the biggest improvers was race walker Nicole Fagan. She made a breakthrough in the national 20km walk championships and earned selection in the Australian team for the Universaide in China. Fagan never raced over 20km until she was 20-year- old and since has made significant improvement. NSW has produced some of the very finest female race walker in the world. Kerry Saxby-Junna, Jane and Natalie Saville and Cheryl Webb have all won interntional medals and rewritten record books. Hopes are high Fagan can join this illustrious group.


As a junior athlete Nicole Fagan (Sydney Pacific) was a good race walker. She competed for Ku-ring-gai Little Athletics Club.

``My first state was in the under-11s where I finished second last but I came first the next four years.

She started athletics in various events

``I also did long distance running and cross country but also played pretty much every other sport during school.

``I started training with Bill Nappin when I was 10 and have been with him ever since. We have a squad of middle distance runners and walkers from under-9s up to 25-year-olds.


Fagan went to school at Monte Sant’ Angelo in North Sydney and graduated in 2007.

``It was only after school that I began to take walking more seriously.’’


In 2008 she claimed the national junior 10km track walk title in a time of 50:44.01, The win earned her automatic selection for the World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, Russia, where she contested the under-20 10km road race. Fagan clocked a quick 49:37and placed 25th.


``The World Walking Cup in Russia was amazing. Race walking is so big over there and the crowds who came to watch were huge. It was great to be on a team of junior and senior athletes as all the senior walkers were a great support.’’


Fagan has taken it steady when increasing the miles and competition distances. It was not until a month after her 20th birthday that she first contested a 20km walk at the Australian Road Walking Championships in Sydney.

``I’d only moved from 3km to 5km, 5km to 10km and 10km to 20km when I’ve had to, not any earlier. The reason for this is to not do too much too soon and is probably why it has taken me a long time to have a good 20km performance. Hopefully it pays off and I’m able to have a long and injury-free career.’’


``I went into my first 20km with no expectations or goals except to finish the race and get a feel for the distance. I think the results show just how tough the 20km distance can be as I was able to finish second, clocking a modest 1:50.40.’’


The fact Fagan has gradually progressed up the distance gives her great hope she has so a lot more progression ahead of her.

Fagan continued to show improvement over the next year. She placed second in an International 10km race walking event in Hong Kong.

``This event is the race walking equivalent to the City to Surf with thousands of people of all ages competing and they all dress up.’’

She also clocked a two minute pb over 10km to win the Oceania Championships.

``Nationals in 2010 was a massive disappointment for me. After what was my best preparation by far leading up to the race, I was sick on the day and stopped mid race. Although it was a huge PB and an nder-23 national win, it was far from what I had expected,’’ said Fagan who clocked 1:41.35.


But her breakthrough occurred over the summer of 2011. She trained through a win in the NSW 10,000m track walk on January 9 and six weeks later travelled to Hobart for the national 20km championship and trials for the World Championships. She started well, passing the mid-way point in third place in a time of 47:08. She held that place to the finish, clocking the great time of 1:35.55. The time was a World University Games and World Championships B qualifier.


``I was really pleased to have finally had a good 20km race. Leading up to it I didn’t have any goals in terms of places so to come away with third was great. I knew I could get under the 1.38 for World Uni’s but was pretty surprised to break 1.36. I only realised how fast I was going with 2km to go and I think I was in shock for the last lap.’’


Did she think she could make the successful progression from junior to senior?

``Definitely. I think my performance in Hobart showed this. I think the elusive World Champs A qualifier is definitely within reach. I only have to improve another two and a half minutes or so, which is achievable considering I dropped five and a half minutes from 2010 to 2011.’’


In May she was named in the team for the World University Games to be held in Shenzhen in China. Again showing her patience to make gradual progression, Fagan choose to concentrate on that meet, rather than chase a World Championships qualifier.

``After Hobart the option was given to travel to China for the IAAF Challenge race to chase the A qualifier. I chose not to do this as Daegu was never really a plan of mine and my coach and I chose to take a bit of a break post nationals after developing minor shin splints,’’ she said.


In June she left for St Moritz, Switzerland the day after uni exams for a month of altitude training alongside the AIS World Champs and World Uni walkers. She then returned to sea level two weeks before World Uni’s.


Fagan is studying psychology and health and Macquarie University and coaches at Ku-ring-gai Little As and works at Rebel Sport. She doesn’t play any other sports now, but swam with Aquaburn Swim Club for cross training and also cycles.


Her dad played league for the Parramatta Eels and her older sister Lauren also used to run and walk and they hold the under-18 state relay walk record for Sydney Pacific.


Nicole Fagan - Statistics

DOB:       24/7/89

Club:       Sydney Pacific

Coach:    Bill Nappin


Annual Progression

2009 1:50.40

2010 1:41.35

2011 1:35.55


International Competition

2008 Race Walking World Cup 

2010 Oceania Race Walking Cup

2010 Hong Kong Elite International Race Walking Event

Oceania Athletics Champ.


Junior 10 km Walk

U23 20km Walk

Open 10km Walk

Open 10km Walk





25th 49:37




National Competition

2007-08 Aust. Junior T & F 


Junior 10,000 m Walk



2008 Aust. Junior Walking (Telstra A League)

2008 Aust. Road Walking Champ.

2009 Aust. Road Walking Champ.

2010 Aust. Champs

2011 Aust. Champs


Junior 10 km Walk

Junior 10km Walk

20km Walk

20km Walk

20km Walk













David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW

Image Nicole Fagan (Courtesy of David Tarbotton)


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