Who is this Craig Kirkwood guy?

Craig has been in endurance sport since he was 14yrs old (We won’t mention how many years that is) and has many times competed on the world stage at the highest level. As a runner he has been to two World Mountain Running Championships (2006), World Cross Country Championships (1999 & 2000), World Half Marathon Championships (1998), World Student Games 10,000m (1997), and the 2002 Commonwealth Games for the Marathon. As a Triathlete he as been to the World Ironman Championships three times (2009, 2013 & 2015), World 70.3 Champs in 2016 (finishing 6th) and has been selected four times to compete in the ITU World Long Distance Championships (finishing 9th in 2018) and once in the ITU Duathlon World Championships. 

Craig is clearly passionate about endurance sport and he has an enormous wealth of knowledge, but why does this make him a good coach?

CK's History:

Growing up as a young runner in Timaru with no coach Craig had to coach himself. Naturally like any young NZ runner he was drawn to the methodology of the legendary Arthur Lydiard. Using the Lydiard methods he became one of NZ top junior middle-long distance runners. At 18yr he took off to the USA on a scholarship at the University of Oklahoma.

In 1999 he moved to London and met two people (Alan Storey & Kim McDonald) who had a massive influence in making him believe what was possible. Alan became Craig's coach and pushed him to new levels; and Kim hired Craig to become an Athlete Services manager and Assiatant Coach. Kim managed and coached numerous World Record holders, World and Olympic Champions. Being exposed to these athletes had a profound effect on Craig’s running and made him realise what was possible….the ceiling was raised. Craig lifted his game and qualified for the 2002 Commonwealth Games after finishing 13th in 2:13.17 at the 2001 Chicago Marathon.

After moving back to New Zealand in 2002 due to serious injury Craig continued to run road races and the odd Mountain Running Race. In 2006 he went to World Mountain Running Championships and in 2007 he won both Rotorua and Christchurch Marathons. In 2008 after admitting that his days for fast running were over he found a new challenge; IRONMAN.

After buying a bike and a pair of speedos, he set about training for the new challenge. After finishing 4th in his first ever triathlon (2008 Rotorua Half Ironman), Craig went on to be first age grouper home at the 2009 Ironman NZ in 9:09 and qualifiying for Kona. Since then he has done the Hawaiian Ironman twice, Ironman NZ twice more, and Ironman Melbourne.

Personal Bests:

Over the years Craig has posted some impressive performances, below are some of the highlights.

2018 ITU World Championships 9th in Age Group

2018 NZ TriNZ Sprint Distance Champs - 2nd in Age Group

2018 NZ TriNZ Standard Distance Champs - 3rd in Age Group

2017 102km Tarawera Ultra Marathon 9th place 

2016 Fujisan Marathon, Japan 12th Place

2016 Tarawera 50km Ultra 4th place

2016 Auckland Marathon 5th

2015 1st Rotorua Running Festival 1h11 

2015 IRONMAN World Championships 9h45 - 23rd age group, 2nd kiwi home
2015 1st Mount Half Marathon 1h112015 4th Rotorua Half Marathon 1h09
2015 NZ Ironman 9h12 - 1st Age Group & 17th Overall. New Zealand Ultra Long Distance Champion
2015 New Zealand Half Ironman Age Group Champion

2014 New Zealand Duathlon Age Group Champion

2013 IRONMAN World Championships 9h30 - 50th age group
2013 New Zealand Duathlon Age Group Champion
2013 Melbourne Ironman 8h35
2011 Tauranga Half Ironman 4h09 (PB)
2009 IRONMAN World Championships  9h51
2009 NZ Ironman 9h09 (PB) - 1st Age Group athlete & 12th overall
2008 4th Christchurch Marathon 2h25 
2008 2nd Rotorua Marathon 2h28
2007 1st Christchurch Marathon 2h26
2007 1st Rotorua Marathon 2h23
2006 World Mountain Running Championships
2005 5th Auckland Marathon 2h25
2005 27th Chicago Marathon 2h24
2004 1st Auckland Half Marathon 1h05.10 (Course Record)
2004 2nd Christchurch Half Marathon 1h06
2002 2nd Auckland Half Marathon 1h06 
2002 Commonwealth Games Marathon - DNF (Injured)
2001 Chicago Marathon 2h13.17 (PB) - 13th overall

2001 London Marathon 2:16 (Debut - 16th overall)

Track Personal Bests:

1500m 3:49
3000m 8:01
3000m SC 8:53
5000m 13:53
10000m 28:37

Road Running Personal Bests:

5km 14:03
10km 29:03
1/2 Marathon 1:03.43
Marathon 2:13.17

Triathlon Personal Bests:

Half Ironman 4:09
Ironman 9:09