Training for the long run

ESTHER LAUAKI
Last updated 07:41 09/11/2012
rob matthews
HIGH ACHIEVER: Blind paratriathlete Rob Matthews of Kohimarama is headed to Sacramento to compete against visually impaired runners in the California International Marathon.

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Blind paratriathlete Rob Matthews is in rigorous training for his third big endurance race in as many months.

The Kohimarama-based sports massage therapist trains and competes with sighted guide Matt Bailey.

Matthews lost his sight at age 20 due to a degenerative eye condition.

He was pleased to come seventh at his second attempt at the World Paratriathlon Championships finals held in Auckland on October 22.

Six days later he came second in the Auckland Half Marathon out of nearly 300 competitors in the 51 to 55 age group.

Matthews' next challenge will be the California International Marathon on December 2 in Sacramento.

"I'm more confident after the last two weeks about the upcoming marathon. I think I can run it in under three hours, all going well." The world championship event in Auckland included a 750 metre swim around Queen's Wharf, a 20 kilometre bike race on a racing tandem and a 5km run.

"There was a lot of room for improvement with the swim leg of the race. Swimming is my weakest area so we'd been focusing a lot on that. I also had the slowest transition time so I'm pleased with how I did," he says.

Matthews represented his native United Kingdom for 23 years winning 29 international gold medals, nine silver and six bronze and setting 22 world records. He has competed for New Zealand since 1999.

Training continues for Matthews and Bailey in preparation for the Sacramento event. Then they will focus on next year's running calendar.

The pair would like to thank Building Service Contractors NZ for its sponsorship of training expenses, entry fees and other costs.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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