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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Lorraine Moller: what a fabulous role model to have in the family!

Updated: Feb 28

Barefoot Lorraine meeting the Queen circa 1970
Barefoot Lorraine meeting the Queen circa 1970

Was it genetics? People keep telling me this. It annoys me. No, not at all to do with Lorraine having some special gene. Lorraine got to the top of her chosen challenge through hard work and being very smart.

Putaruru was chock full of athletic talent. All children in that town had a robust, healthy outdoors upbringing. The difference was our Mum and Dad who instilled the mindset of not allowing others to place limitations on us or to tell us what to do - or not do. In their own ways, Mum and Dad had a healthy disrespect of those in authority and it rubbed off onto their six children. If some pompous person told us we could not do it or that it could not be done, we learned to just get on with it!

Wow - talk about a collection of fit and healthy people!
Wow - talk about a collection of fit and healthy people!

Life was tough. We were poor. Very poor to start with. I think everyone about us was poor back then. Our clothes were made from scraps of fabric or hand-me-downs. Around 8 years of age, I learned how to knit clothing from yarn that we harvested from old jerseys. We had no shoes. Food was never wasted. I think what really helped was the post-war milk in schools programme where every child in New Zealand received a free half pint of full cream milk every school day.

While things were tough for Mum and Dad, we never saw it that way. As the greatest leader and the greatest mind of our modern times said recently, "It is what it is". What we had was a free and adventurous childhood. We were free-range children.

Lorraine and Gary, Putaruru, late '50's
Lorraine and Gary, Putaruru, late '50's

During that post-war era, Putaruru produced a long and impressive list of high-achievers, not just in sport but also in business and academia. It was the physical and social environment at work, not genetics.

Back to Lorraine for a moment:

What really made the difference for Lorraine and numerous talented young runners, such as Rod Dixon, Ann Audain, Allison Roe, John Walker and many, many more, was the coaching support they received and all with the guidance of Arthur Lydiard who is the father of modern-day periodisation programming.

Lorraine is now the President of the USA-based Lydiard Foundation which teaches and certifies coaches and athletes worldwide how to use the most successful athletic coaching system ever devised:

Having talent is one thing but having the framework to nurture it over many years is crucial if it is to flourish and mature into greatness. Far more important than genetics, if you ask me!

I now have several grandchildren. Isn't it great to have such good role models like Lorraine in the family to inspire them?

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