Nia Akins is your USATF champion at 800 meters indoors and outdoors in 2023. In the World Championships, Nia Akins made it to the final, took sixth, and ran a PB of 1:57.73. Nia is a member of the Brooks Beasts TC, which she joined in 2020. Nia Akins is coached by Danny Mackey.
Multi-talented, Nia is also a musician who records her own music.
In December 2023, I was fortunate to listen to Nia Akins and Josh Kerr speak to dealers at the Brooks booth at the Running Event. Nia is a thoughtful speaker with quiet confidence.
We gave Nia these 8 questions, whittled down from my original 30. We thank Nia for her time and enthusiasm. We also thank Megan Stills and Jazmine of Brooks Communications for helping us facilitate these interviews.
RunBlogRun, # 1. What was your first experience in track?
Nia Akins: My first experience in track was in elementary school. We had a run club on Tuesday where you got a point for every lap you ran, and after a certain amount of laps, you’d get prizes. It was during recess, and I remember running the whole time to get the points and, obviously, the candy or whatever the reward was after.
RunBlogRun, #2. What surprised you about your experience in Budapest?
Nia Akins: What surprised me was how much fun I had. I never felt stressed or overwhelmed, which I know can be rare for a first-time championship experience.
RunBlogRun, # 3. What do you love about the 800 meters?
Nia Akins: I love how quickly you have to think on your feet. It’s the fastest non-laned event, so it’s unforgiving if you make a tactical mistake. The event is stacked right now, and being among so many amazing women is a blessing.
RunBlogRun, # 4. When did you know that you and Danny Mackey worked well together?
Nia Akins: When I fell at Trials in 2021, I was disappointed, embarrassed, and naturally sad. That was my first year training with Danny; we were still relatively new to each other, and then we had to face that big challenge mid-season. In conversation and training after that, he treated the person affected by that—not just the athlete. From there, we were able to pull together a consistent summer of racing and an 800 PR later that season.
RunBlogRun, # 5. What is the workout that you know you need but do not love?
Nia Akins: Any tempo work at altitude camp on the river trail. It’s just tough.
RunBlogRun, # 6. What was the biggest lesson you took from high school running? College?
Nia Akins: My biggest lesson from high school running is that consistency is critical. It’s important to just keep showing up.
The biggest lesson I took from college is to have fun. When you’re happier, you perform better and appreciate where you are and what you have.
7. What has been the biggest lesson you have learned from elite running?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from elite running is everyone has their own path, and it’s not always linear. You have to be your own boss and identify and communicate what works for you and what doesn’t.
8. What was the experience of winning the US Indoor + Outdoor titles?
So surreal. I know I was there, and it really happened to me, but it feels too good to be true. I am still in so much awe of how 2023 came together. And every win felt like a stepping stone, not a mountain top. So, I feel blessed in that way, too; I can still achieve more for myself. I haven’t peaked yet.
Nia Akins races in the Hyperion Elite MD spike for indoor and outdoor and likes to train in the Glycerin 21.