Multisport ace

Last updated 05:00 10/09/2012
Mark Grammer
EMMA ALLEN
Good Grammer: Multisport ace Mark Grammer, at home in the garage with his sporting toys, preparing for another crack at the World Triathlon champs.

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Cycling is Mark Grammer's sporting focus this weekend. He is helping to run the annual Cuddon two-day secondary schools event in Marlborough, but coming up over Labour weekend, he's got a big personal challenge - the world triathlon championships.

He's already competed in two for New Zealand - in 2006 in Switzerland, and 2009 on Australia's Gold Coast where he finished as the third New Zealander home in the 45 to 49-years age group.

Born in Te Awamutu, Mark grew up in Tauranga where swimming was his main sporting focus. A New Zealand age group swimming rep in his day, he still cringes when he thinks of all the time he put into training back then - one-and-a-half hour sessions twice daily, five days a week.

He still enjoys swimming, and just last week during a training session at the Marlborough Aquatic Centre, he completed a cool 300 lengths.

Back in the 1990s he also contested the national mountain bike series, but before that in the 1980s, he was a triathlon pioneer as the sport established itself in New Zealand.

His first event was in Dunedin while he was attending University of Otago. Back then, there was no established distance as there is now.

He competed in a national triathlon series where he was a regular top five finisher in the late 1980s, having got into cycling while at university.

Mark had most of the 1990s away from multisport. A young family was one of the reasons, but running injuries also dampening his enthusiasm for the sport which takes a rough toll on the body.

He moved to Blenheim in 2003 and it wasn't long before his competitive juices were flowing again.

"I came down from Auckland - a work-related move with a finance company. I wanted to get out of the rat race and I joined the Marlborough Triathlon and Multisport Club. I became a committee member and still am. Once you are in that job I think you are in it for life.

"I enjoy triathlons. It keeps you fit and you don't dedicate too much to one discipline. The challenge is trying to put together three events well on any given day."

Once he's competed at the Worlds this this year, Mark said his sporting focus will shift to an even tougher event.

"Me and a friend decided that we would do an Ironman when we were 50. I've got three years to prepare. I've been training for decades, have a good fitness base but it takes forever to get race fit again and you lose it way quicker as you get older as well."

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While multisport numbers are not huge in Marlborough, the base is growing all the time.

Mark's been coaching a group of 20 novice under 17 cyclists - including his 13-year-old son Christopher - in conjunction with Cuddon Cycling Marlborough. They are doing both track and road work and he enjoys it.

The talented all-rounder is married to Trish and the couple have three children, Jason, 16, Christopher, and nine-year-old Samantha.

Marks is self employed as a franchise owner of a computer IT business Need a Nerd, which fits in well with his sporting endeavours.

- The Marlborough Express

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