Blog: The Fitness Zone
One of the perks of writing this column is that I get to meet interesting people and do things that are sometimes out of my usual experience.
I've known Alan Bryson for a few years. He and his wife Vicki, both accountants, came to Nelson a few years ago and have been involved in many triathlon, duathlon, running and swimming events.
Always a good runner, Alan competed at county level in Britain, but stopped while at university. The couple then spent a few years working in France before coming to New Zealand seven years ago when Alan was 30.
Encouraged by a workmate, he entered the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon. The event opened his eyes to a new set of sporting challenges and he has gone on to compete in many long-distance events, including Challenge Wanaka and Ironman NZ over a six-week period last summer.
His immersion in sport has led him to consider a career change, so this year he's adding to his accounting and management qualifications by doing Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology's Diploma in Applied Fitness course.
There was a time when you could set your clock by regular events on the sports calendar, but now it seems the event landscape is in constant flux, with organisers regularly throwing out new challenges.
I have some regrets about this. I used to look forward to doing the Buller Half Marathon or the Rainbow Rage each year, partly to see if I could go any faster and partly because I remembered what a great time I had last year.
Now I'm not competing so much, I seem to be getting more caught up in organising - something I thought I'd left behind.
As an organiser, one is constantly aware of entry numbers. Is this event attractive enough? Why are numbers down? Why are they up?
If I knew the answers to these questions, I could overcome the fickle nature of human beings and only be involved in events which attracted large numbers of happy competitors.
One of Nelson's favourite triathletes has triumphed in one of the world's most prestigious long-distance events.
Last weekend, Britta Martin won Ironman Wisconsin, biking away from the field over the undulating 180km cycle course and extending her lead with the quickest marathon split on a hilly 42km circuit.
The results made it look easy, with Martin setting herself up in a sub-60min swim before dominating the field in the next eight hours.
But as always, the reality wasn't so simple. Martin picks up the story:
"The buildup to the race was actually pretty challenging. I have been struggling and had such a mental battle for the last two months, that I almost didn't go to the States.
Now it's officially spring, busy days and weeks seem suddenly to have got more so.
On Sunday it was the first race in the Migym Mountainbike Duathlon series at Rabbit Island.
It was one of those perfect days. We seemed to be saying goodbye to winter with clear skies and no wind.
There was a moderate field of 60 or so people having a good time, with family groups taking part and all ages and abilities from very young and fast to those much older and correspondingly more modest in their speed.
The real star of the day was the forest course, which is such a lot of fun to get around. Who would believe there are so many hills on Rabbit Island, or that it could be so nice riding those winding narrow trails in the forest?
The six-week swim challenge at Riverside Pool is more than halfway through and some huge distances have been clocked up.
Without a doubt, the star performance has come from Christina Harris, who reached her goal of 100 kilometres in just nine days.
The top male is Peter Thomas, who is up to 80km and will easily hit 100km in the next week or so.
There's been a bit of friendly competition between the pair in recent years.
"One achievement which is really special was to have won the 2011 Riverside 100km Challenge," says Thomas.
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