Interview and photograph by Florence Noble
If you’re looking for a running shoe recommendation from someone who’s test-driven runners through more than a dozen marathons, Timothy Gibbs at Nike is your guy.
Are you from Auckland?
How do you get to Britomart?
My mum works in the City and my sister goes to St Mary’s so most of the time I come in early with them, and get some breakfast in the city.
Where do you go to?
La Petite Fourchette or Amano, depending on how I’m feeling.
Lucky. What do you do here?
I look after customers and I’m a runner, so generally if a runner comes in, I get called to help them out with what shoe they should be wearing.
What type of running do you do?
Marathon running. I run with my uncle, and he used to do it competitively a while ago, but he’s a bit older now. He’s trying to get me to run faster, but I’m content with finishing at the moment.
How many marathons have you done?
I’ve done 14 now. I’m 21. It’s taken me around the world so far, which is cool. I did Chicago last year, and doing New York next year. I’m hoping to do the big six, which is Chicago, Boston, New York, London, Berlin and Tokyo, so that’s my goal.
Whoa. Do you do Auckland?
Yes, this year was my fifth Auckland marathon, and when you do five you become a roadster. And because you technically have to be 18 to do your first marathon, I’ll be the youngest roadster for Auckland, which is pretty cool! I’ve done some in Aussie, four Rotoruas, Tauranga, Hamilton and Hawkes Bay as well.
Which is your favourite?
In New Zealand, I’d probably have to say Rotorua, because running around the lake is so quiet and it’s a nice view. But I don’t think anything beats Chicago at this stage. Just the crowd support, and I ran the last 300m with Kevin Hart. I saw a big group around someone and I weaved my way around, and got in the middle and I was next to Kevin Hart!
What is it about it that compels you?
There’s a photo of me running, supporting my uncle when I was five, down at the waterfront. He was finishing the Auckland marathon and I did the last couple of kilometres with him. Just from a young age I’ve always been into running. My uncle has done over 160 marathons now, so I had to do at least one. And once I’d done one, as my uncle calls it, you "get the bug”. You get to a point where you’re still sore, but you kind of fall in love with it. The last 5km you kind of lose all feeling and adrenaline gets you to the finish line. It’s like a drug, I guess. Then you get to the finish line and collapse.
So you wear Nikes?
Running wise, I’ve always worn Nike. My uncle was sponsored by Asics when he was running competitively, but I’ve even converted him to wearing Nike now. The top five marathon runners in the world are sponsored by Nike. And Nike’s top line shoes were developed with their help. They’ve broken records with these shoes, so they must be doing something right.
Whats your favourite thing to spend money on?
Travel or shoes. Ever since I got into retail, I see too many shoes and then I want them. I’m going to Melbourne at the end of the year for the Presidents Cup golf. The top golfers in the world will be there. And then I’m going to do the Tokyo marathon in March 2021.
Would you ever run competitively?
Not marathons, it’s more of a hobby for me. Halves though – recently I’ve been trying to get faster and I’ve shaved about 20 minutes from my first to now. If it becomes too competitive then it takes the fun factor away from it. I’m not too fussed with times.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
At the moment I’m doing marine biology and zoology. My goal is to move to Australia – Brisbane, or anywhere in Queensland – because they have the Great Barrier Reef and Townsville has a huge crocodile farm with the biggest crocodiles in the world. I loved Steve Irwin growing up, and Australia Zoo is his amazing organisation. I’d love to work for them. They rescue sick and injured animals and rehabilitate them, and they keep the ones they can’t rehabilitate in the zoo. I want to be out in the wild rescuing these animals and saving endangered animals. I love tigers and the fact that they’re going extinct hurts me a lot, so I’d love to help in any way to keep them going. That’s my goal.
Where’s your favourite place to eat around here?
Mainly Amano, but if I’m training I might go to get a pizza! I’ve always believed carbs are the best things to have before a run.
What are your favourite Nike’s?
AirMax 97s. Silver Bullets. They came out the same year I was born. If someone told me I could only keep one pair of shoes, I’d keep those.