Athlete revels in hard yards for charity

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2014

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A midlife crisis has kick-started a southern corrections officer into hours of endurance training, something his family prefers over a red sports car.

Otago Corrections Facility officer and fitness junkie Geoff Campbell, of Dunedin, has been training hard to compete in the Challenge Wanaka iron-distance triathlon today.

The 47-year-old officer with a background in endurance racing woke up one morning and decided to compete in the Challenge. He attributed his decision to a "midlife crisis." Campbell has previously competed in marathons, ironman challenges and other endurance events. It wasn't until he had entered he decided to use it as a cause to raise money for Victim Support.

He chose the organisation because he worked daily with people who had created victims.

"The idea of giving something back to an organisation that provides invaluable support to victims in the community at their time of need was my inspiration."

Most of Victim Support's funds came from fundraising, he said.

"Victim Support are all volunteers and put a lot of time and effort in."

It has been 23 years since Campbell, who has been at the Otago Corrections Facility for more than four years, competed in an iron-distance event, but he has spent 10 months training hard.

He has put in about 14 hours a week in the pool, on the bike, running or at the gym.

Campbell said he was fully aware of the physical and mental challenges involved in such an event.

"It's not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it."

The challenge involved a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and finished with a 42.2km run in Wanaka.

"I'd love to keep doing this. I'm going to look at some other events . . . I just love endurance events. I just like being out there and doing it.

"It's hard work, but it's rewarding . . . I've never been first but always enjoy the event more than the race. I owe my wife big-time for all the hours she let me get out training," he said.

Donations in support of his efforts can be made on the Victim Support website donations' page victimsupport.org.nz. nicci.mcdougall@stl.co.nz

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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