For Murray Hunt, completing his first half ironman event was the culmination of something which began way back in the 1980s.
That's when the Blenheim lawyer, a partner at Hardy-Jones Clark, took up running with his mate and fellow lawyer back then, Mike Turner, in 1986.
By 1994 he completed his first marathon and what followed since has been numerous half marathons, 18 full marathons and two Coast to Coast multisport events.
While by his own admission not a record breaker speed-wise, he's certainly a fiercely determined athlete and two under-1hr 30min half marathons and marathon personal best of 3.22 means he's certainly no slouch either.
Entering the world of ironman came about because he found something he hadn't done before and could set a new time because although he still enjoyed running, the older he got, the harder he trained and the slower he went.
Ironman posed one major challenge, quite apart from completing a very tough course: He couldn't swim, or at least no more than 100 metres.
"I went to the Marlborough Aquatic Centre and they were very helpful and gave me tips.
"Every Thursday night and Saturday morning I went to swim classes and in the sea at Picton with the Masters swimmers.
"I got proficient in different sea conditions. It took about seven months last year to get proficient."
Cycling was another area he needed considerable brushing up on, but again that did not deter him.
"I picked up a bike on TradeMe and started cycling about September last year. I found that as challenging as any other part of training but I basically learnt to swim and cycle adequately enough to do ironman."
The hard training done, Murray was confident he could rise to the Wanaka Challenge of a 1.9 kilometre swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run and in the end he thoroughly enjoyed it.
"There was a real sense of occasion about the whole thing. Once I was in the water I had everything organised and I felt like I could do it. I was confident I could finish. It was tough but what surprised me was that if you know you have to do all these things you just keep going. I never thought of stopping, just broke it down into bits and ticked things off as I got one step closer."
Dropping three kilograms of weight during the race showed how tough it was, but Murray is already eying a return to Wanaka.
"I'm keen to do more half ironmans. I've got all the gear now and learnt to cycle and swim and it's a new challenge and there's plenty of room for improvement."
Murray's sporting talents have not been restricted to running and multisport and he's involved in other community organisations as well.
Born in Dunedin and brought up in Gore, he played rugby in Invercargill prior to his family shifting to Blenheim in 1980. At Marlborough Boys' College in 1979, he then went to Otago University to study law and commerce and took up rowing for the university club.
On his return to Blenheim he played rugby as a winger for the Old Boys senior reserve team, a second broken leg hastening his retirement.
Married to Joanne, the couple have two daughters and a son. Murray is on the Marlborough Boys' College board of trustees, the Tasman Rugby board and is a committee member of the Marlborough Cancer Society.
- The Marlborough Express
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