Medal glory for Levin athletes
Horowhenua athletes have returned from the New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui with a swag of medals.
LATEST: Dean Harrison picked up six medals in the pool, while multisporter Andrew Burns added three medals to his Masters Games tally.
Harrison, competing in the 60- to 65-year-old men’s catagory, won gold in the 200m individual medley.
He also won three silvers, in the 100m IM, and both the 200m and 50m freestyle, and bronze medals in the 100m and the 50m freestyle.
‘‘It’s not that hard to get a medal,’’ he said. ‘‘But someone once said to me that if you do the training and put in the effort when competing, you still deserve it.’’
This was Harrison’s third Masters Games in Whanganui. In the previous two years he won seven gold medals and four silvers in the pool, as well as bronze medals for open-water swimming and triathlon.
‘‘It’s always nice to come away with medals, but that’s not what I do it for,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s great camaraderie, mixing with like-minded people, and it’s a real social event. They have a restaurant and live bands every night in the party tent.’’
Harrison, a member of the Levin Masters Swimming Club, trains three or four days every week at the Levin Aquatic Centre.
Meanwhile, Burns crossed the line first ahead of more than 50 men aged 30 and over in last Saturday's triathlon
He completed the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in 1 hour, 3m, 8s, about two minutes ahead of the runner-up.
''To win overall was a great feeling. I definitely didn't expect to do that well,'' he said.
''The water got a little choppy during the swim and the ride was a bit tough heading back towards town because of a headwind, but the run was all good and not too hot.''
Last year Burns won the gold medal in the 30 to 34-year-old men's category and was fifth overall, and said this year's victory was his triathlon career highlight.
Burns also competed in the duathlon the previous Saturday, claiming the silver medal after finishing the 5km run, 30km cycle and 5km run in 1:29.
''I didn't go so well. It had been really hot the night before and I got dehydrated and during the race I was getting cramp and had to stop a couple of times.
"It was quite frustrating, especially when I was right up there and could have won,'' he said.
Burns had not fully recovered when the next day he competed in the 10km road race, also finishing runner-up in his age group and claiming his second silver medal. He was fifth overall in 39:06.
A sales consultant at Farmlands, Burns said he usually trained between six and eight hours each week over six days, increasing to 10 to 11 hours leading up to events.
Before multisport he was only a runner.
''I took up triathlons for a new challenge. The first one I did I really enjoyed and basically got hooked,'' he said.
Burns progressed to competing in Olympic distance triathlons and then half-Ironman events, of which he had now done three.
For his next challenge, he is eyeing up next year's Ironman New Zealand in Taupo, which involves a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km marathon.
''I'll have to do even more training each week for that one.''
- Horowhenua Mail