Willig ’16 posts top-five time in Ivy history

Willig leads throughout race on his way to record-time first place at Terrier Invitational

Sports Columnist
Friday, January 31, 2014

Of all the strong performances the men’s track-and-field team turned in this past weekend, Ned Willig ’16 left his teammates in the dust, setting both the school record and a personal one in the 1,000-meter run, finishing with a time of 2 minutes, 22.35 seconds. Willig led the race from beginning to end, coming in with a time that stands as the fifth-best all-time in the Ivy League.

A distance runner at heart, Willig is also a cross-country athlete and was a first-team all-Ivy selection last year after winning the 1,000m at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Championships. For his wire-to-wire, record-breaking performance, Willig has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.


How did you get into running, and when did you start?

I got into running in middle school. My parents were both runners, so they encouraged me to try running. I enjoyed it and I had success early on, so I just pursued it from there.


Were you always a distance runner?

Yes, always. The first race I ran was a one-mile race, so always in that range.


What would you say is your proudest accomplishment as a runner?

The most fun I have with running is when I’m running on relays. Last year, I was on two record-setting relays. One was in the distance medley and the other was in a 4×800 meter relay. Those were both very exciting events. Individually, I would say winning the Ivy League Championship last year in the 1K (was my proudest accomplishment).


What goes through your mind when you’re racing?

I’m just thinking about my position in the field and when I should start to make my move to get to the front of the pack. I’m evaluating the race as it goes and how I am feeling.


How’s the season going for you?

I think the season’s going very well. It’s off to a good start­ — still a month or so left in the season at least. I was happy with how the first two races (went), and the whole team is looking healthy, which is exciting.


You broke the school record for the 1,000m. When you were running, did you know you were on pace to break the record?

I actually set the (previous) record last year, so I had an idea that I would hopefully be on that pace again. But I wasn’t really sure what time I would run during the race.


Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

I sleep until about an hour before the race. Then I do my stretches and my warm-ups, which is about a 20-minute run and then other drills to get the muscles prepared to race.


Do you listen to music when you run in your free time?

No, I don’t. I have never really listened to music while I run, because I don’t really enjoy it.