NLAA
Hall of Fame

Nicola Will

Category: Athlete
Inducted: July 16, 2008

Nicola Will started her exceptional running career in Newfoundland and Labrador upon her arrival in the province in 1978. She established herself as one of the best runners to ever compete within the province with an extremely impressive record of successes. While her career began with cross-country running, she moved to road racing in 1979 and never looked back.

Blessed with all the skills and talents required for distance running she was very fortunate to be exposed to the high level coaching of her father Ray Will and supported this situation with obvious determination and a willingness to make the personal sacrifices necessary for rewarding running.

In 1979 she ran her first Tely Ten and in 1980 she finished third, taking 18 minutes off her time of the previous year, which led ultimately to her streak of being unbeaten by any woman in Newfoundland and Labrador at any distance on track, road or cross-country from 800 metres to half marathon from 1981 until her retirement in 1987. During this period she rewrote the record books on road and track.

Her first Tely 10 victory came in 1982 when she set a remarkable junior, under 20, record of 60 minutes 51 seconds, a record which still stood in 2008. In 1984 she took more than a minute off the existing senior record with a time of 56:04.

In 1986 she set the record with an amazing 55:47 win, the only female ever to record a top ten overall finish, eighth. She also was dominant at other distances on the road racing scene, setting course record after course record throughout the Atlantic provinces and established herself as one of the most respected road runners in Canada. In 1984 she finished second in the Springbank International Road Race in London, Ontario, defeating two U.S. Olympians in the process over a distance of 7.5 kilometres.

As a road runner she represented Canada at the 1985 Toronto International ten-kilometre race when she set a provincial best time of 33 minutes 32 seconds. In 1986 she was selected to the Canadian team for the Women´s World Road Race Championships over 15 kilometres in Lisbon, Portugal and was the second Canadian finisher.

By 1981 she was the top ranked track runner in the province at 800 metres, 1500 metres, one mile and 3000 metres. In addition to setting provincial records at those distances, she also established new standards at 5000 metres and 10000 metres. She won Atlantic track titles many times and in 1984 won the Ontario 3000 metre championship. Many of her track records have stood for more than two decades.

Throughout her Memorial University career she won three AUAA cross-country titles and had many wins on the indoor track at distances from 600 metres to 3000 metres. She was the Newfoundland and Labrador and St. John´s female athlete of the year for 1984.