Wim Van Dijk
Judith at the New Zealand Masters Games, Dunedin 2018

Having had a marvellous time at the World Games in Auckland last year, signing up for the New Zealand version was a no-brainer. According to its website, this is the largest multi-sport event in New Zealand.

My first event was the 12km road race on the Sunday. Not knowing Dunedin at all, I was blissfully unaware of the course layout! We were bussed to Port Chalmers, and deposited at the bottom of a hill – and this turned out to be the start-line…. straight up hill!  One spectator let me know that there were two big hills, and this first one was the worst. He was wrong! There were multiple hills…. I don’t suppose I cared which one was hardest, but there were certainly three decent climbs! Another tidbit I picked up was the news that it was actually 12.5km – what’s another 500m between runners?

It was a glorious day – not hot, no wind, and the sunshine only served to highlight the magnificent views as we climbed. As I slowed to a brief walk break on the second hill, I took in the panorama and decided I was just so glad to be here, and I was going to enjoy the run! The positive mindset certainly helped towards the end as I started to struggle!

It’s hard to judge people’s age-groups to within 5-year bands when you’re standing around at the start, so I had no idea how I was faring. So when my name was called as the second place-getter for my age-group (65-69), I was surprised – and very happy!

A few days later, the many of the same culprits (plus more local runners) lined up in a suburban park for the 5km road race. Again we were lucky with the weather. Although it was a bit warm, it was an evening race, so bearable. We were informed it was two laps of a FLAT course – with a ‘slight rise’ to negotiate, twice. Hmmm, felt like a low hill to me! It was hard work, with the legs depleted after Sunday, but that was the same for all of us!  Strangely, the first three in my age group finished in exactly the same order as on Sunday!  By this time, we all recognised each other and enjoyed each other’s company. Big thrill: the medals for this event were presented by former Silver Fern, Jodie Brown! Made my day!

I was away for a week, and made the most of the Dunedin terrain with a lot of hill walking! My B & B was at the top of a very steep street, so it was pretty much compulsory hill training! But the weather was great, and I loved the city.


The next NZ Masters Games will be held in Whanganui in February 2019 – I highly recommend giving it a go!

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