No Paine no gain: law student wins gold
30 November 2023
Jack Paine sprinted through sweltering heat to win gold at the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Balancing law, music, and a part-time job is a tall order, but University of Auckland student Jack Paine adds another layer to his already full plate - competitive running.
The jazz vocalist and youth advocate competed at the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands, battling intense heat and competitors from across the region to win gold in the men's 1500 metre race and silver in the 800 metres.
Jack, who’s studying towards a conjoint law and music degree, dominated the 1500m on day 11 of the Games, securing gold with a stellar time of 3:50.97.
"I came out with a plan to execute, make sure I hit my splits really hard, and I was lucky enough to do that today," he said post-race.
Meanwhile, Liam O'Donnell, Paine's teammate, claimed the silver, contributing to Aotearoa's strong presence on the podium.
Jack's interest in running blossomed during Covid-19 lockdowns, brought on by a need to get out of the house and to focus on his mental health. His daily runs became a mental sanctuary, an escape from the confines of home and from the rigours of his studies.
"I started running in Year 11 of high school, but I wasn't super special. I didn't make any finals in inter-school competitions,” he says.
“Once I got to university, I tried to find a running group but didn't have much luck. I let the idea of competitive running go for a while, but then Covid hit and it was a really good excuse to get out of the house."
Over the lockdowns, Jack ran most days.
"Because of Covid, I realised that running was massively important to me for a variety of reasons and I was very fortunate to be asked if I wanted to train with a group based in Pakuranga.
"I've got a lot going on in the rest of my life, with university and work. So running is a great way for me to both switch off and have a little time for self-reflection."
Jack, who grew up and went to school in Wellington, also enjoys the sense of achievement he gets from running.
"It's very quantifiable. At university, you have to wait until the end of the semester to get your grades or your GPA, but with running, it's quite instantaneous; you finish your run, know your time and you feel a little better."
Sophie Boladeras I Media adviser
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