TRACK AND FIELD: It runs in the family for Surrey’s Tadesse siblings

GUILDFORD — In 2013, Ephraim Tadesse ran a time of 3:56.77 to win the 1,500-metre race at the Fraser Valleys, breaking a record that stood since 1979.

Two weeks ago, his younger brother Nathan beat his time by 1.46 seconds, claiming the gold medal in the 2015 championship.

“He was just happy I didn’t lose,” said Nathan with a laugh. “If I lost and someone else took the record, I think he would’ve been less happy about that.”

Not only did he outrun everyone in the 1,500-metre race, the 18-year-old North Surrey Secondary senior nabbed a second gold in 3,000-metre event, finishing with a time of 8:51.71.

Despite taking his brother’s record, Nathan said there’s no sibling rivalry.

In fact, the younger Tadesse – who initially ran cross country – got his start running track in Grade 8 through his big brother, prompting him to more seriously pursue middle distance races in his freshman and sophomore years of high school.

“Coming into it, I actually wanted to run the 400 metres – I thought I could be a really good 400-metre runner because I was quick, but I kind of got forced into the middle distance by our coaches,” said Nathan with a grin as NSS head coach Scott Svelander stood nearby.

“From a coach’s perspective, people have predispositions to certain events,” explained Svelander in his reasoning for pushing Nathan toward endurance running. “All runners think they’re sprinters when they come out – they all have to be fast. Even a world class distance runner has to be very, very fast.”

Evidently, Svelander got it right, translating Nathan’s success on the trails to the track. The coach has seen Nathan grow and progress over the last several years to the proverbial frontrunner he is today.

“When he first came out in Grade 8, I think he was a close second to a bunch of club guys right away,” said Svelander. “He came out and had a lot of talent.

“At first, it was just that little bit of commitment, but when he caught fire, he really latched onto it.”

But Nathan’s rise hasn’t been without a few bumps. An iron deficiency in his junior year affected his finish in the B.C. Cross Country Championships, dropping to 25th. A combination of iron supplements and training brought him back to the front of the pack the following year, when he won gold.

“The iron helped a lot for recovery and just feeling good, and the training on top of the iron was why I was able to win it,” he said.

Next week at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park, Nathan returns to the B.C. Track and Field Championships, running in the 1,500-metre and – for the first time on a provincial level – the 3,000-metre.

The past two years, he placed 7th and 9th in the 1,500, but he’s confident this time around – perhaps almost confident enough to beat his brother’s second-place provincial finish from 2013.

“I’m actually really happy,” said Nathan. “Training’s been going well. I’m feeling really good going into B.C.s. I’m not sure how fast I can run, but the B.C.s will be a good indicator.”

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