If you are tuning into the Nike Prefontaine Classic on NBC on Saturday, in hopes of watching middle-distance runner Anna Pierce, she will be the one with the bright red hair. Pierce, who is known for her ever-changing hair color, chose her current shade of red because it matches her current Nike uniform. In the past you might have seen Pierce show up at the track as a platinum blond or with black hair. Or perhaps you caught her as a brunette highlighted by blond streaks. Pierce has even matched her Nike uniforms by experimenting with streaks in the hues of pink, purple and blue.
Just as Pierce’s hair colors have evolved, so have her disciplines. In college, Pierce originally ran the 800m and 1500m. She then moved to the steeplechase to be more competitive in the Ivy League while running at Brown University. Her focus has now switched back to the middle-distance events.
“Quite simply I am much faster naturally than I am strong,” commented Pierce. “When I first joined the Mammoth Track Club, I was excelling in the sprint workouts and really struggling on all of the aerobic conditioning workouts. It was a pretty natural transition into the shorter events.”
Pierce’s training site has also changed as she made the move to the Mammoth Track Club in October of 2008. She attributes her recent success to her new coach. “I really took to the new training under Terrence Mahon,” added Pierce. In just one year, she was able to improve her personal records in the 800m from 2:02 to 1:58 and from 4:06 to 3:59 in the 1500m.
“Terrence is the most multifaceted coach I know,” according to Pierce.” He is always learning new things to better his coaching repertoire; such as better lifting form, improving our nutrition, myo-facial stretching, sports psychology, etc. There is really nothing that I don't feel comfortable talking about with Terrence. Having an open coach-athlete relationship is absolutely critical for me because I really value sharing my successes with my loved ones as well as leaning on people close to me when I need support.”
But with a new training site comes new challenges as well. “Training in Mammoth is definitely challenging at times because I struggle at the 8000 feet of altitude, but ultimately it makes me aerobically stronger,” adds Pierce.
So what inspires Pierce on the track? “Since being a professional runner, I have really enjoyed competing in front of roaring crowds,” answered Pierce.” Some of my best performances have been in conjunction with the surging crowd! Those are the moments I live for.”
What inspires Pierce when choosing a hair color? “Celebrities, current hair styles that I like and I think would look cool with colors, and my Nike uniform. “ That answer was easy.
Pierce will be competing in the 800m at the Nike Prefontaine Classic this weekend followed by the 1500m at the adidas Grand Prix on June 11th. The 2010 USA Outdoor 1500m champion will also compete in the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships, vying for a spot on Team USA’s World Championships Team.