What do you do when you are not running?
Anyone who knows me even a little bit will know that I might struggle to succinctly answer this question. I have a variety of alternative sporting interests primarily cycling, but also swimming (having been a competitive triathlete) all the way to hiking and scuba diving (most recently). Then, Anna and I have a nearly 120 year old house that seems to need an inordinate amount of time lavished upon it, which happens suits my interest in woodworking. We also have a walnut orchard in Tokoroa (a remnant of our days in the central North Island) and a love of going on holidays (not usually the ones where you get to lie about in the sun). In reality running takes up a relatively small part of my life.
What started you running?
I have been active all my life – some of my earliest memories are running down Muriwai Beach in the summer, competing in the Intermediate School cross country running events, and competing in all of the running events at secondary school athletics. I was never especially good at it, I was never driven to win, so I did it for the enjoyment.
Who has influenced your running the most?
I didn’t really start running competitively until after I was married and Anna decided to try out for the New Zealand age group triathlon team. I had the option of training with her or being left behind. I opted to train with her, and still got left behind.
Once I saw that I too would be able to qualify for the New Zealand team I looked for ways to improve my running – John Hellemans was a great influence, and I still tend to follow one of his programmes if I am planning a build up for an event.
Why do you run long distances, and why with the clinic?
When Anna and I moved to Wellington in 2008 we were both invited to join in with the Wellington Marathon Clinic by Sue Ruston. Sue has now gone, but Anna and I still enjoy the company and the chance to explore what Wellington has to offer off road. A two hour run in Wellington will take you to a bewildering number of spectacular places, and will allow you to explore all sorts of back street tracks and alleyways. I believe that kee[ing fit and active is an important part of growing old – I want to be able to enjoy my fitness once I retire, so I need to hang on to it.
What other sports interests do I have?
I have dabbled in competitions with varying degrees of success for all of my life. I am a five time veteran of the Coast to Coast (including the longest day), I have represented New Zealand at age group level in Triathlon and Duathlon and I have competed at a World Masters Swimming Championships. At all of these events I am constantly amazed at the performances produced by people at all stages of their life. These days I tend to run and cycle to stay fit and active and to enjoy our holidays.
Most memorable track
I still believe that you cannot beat the Highbury Fling on a good day (or even a bad day for that matter). As a worker in the central business district of Wellington, you simply can’t beat a lunchtime run in the Polhill Reserve. But I also have fond memories of the Kinloch to Kawakawa Bay track just out of Taupo.
I still remember the hype and nervousness of the Coast to Coast vividly, but I think my favourite event is probably the Wellington marathon – it’s pretty hard to beat the look on the faces of all the competitors as they finish.
Essential Running accessory
I tend to avoid all the flash fancy accessories that seem to be foisted upon the sporting community – the most essential accessory to do really well at running is your brain. If your head isn’t in the race, your heart won’t be and you won’t be either.
The silly question – Who is your favourite superhero?
In the world of make believe Mr Incredible would be my favourite, but in the real world it would have to be Anna Tyler.