Age is no excuse for not staying fit and active.
In fact, for 85-year-old Arthur Lester, who will be walking his 25th Taranaki Daily News Half Marathon in New Plymouth on Sunday, getting older only makes the challenge better.
He has been doing the marathon since he retired in 1988 to care for his wife.
"When I retired, I thought to myself 'great, I'm retired. Now what do I do?'
"I had to do something, I couldn't sit around home all the time."
His daughter suggested he take up walking and try out the half-marathon.
"I did my first one at 60. That was one of my slowest ones," said the New Plymouth man, who worked for 46 years in the motor trade.
Because the half-marathon is an annual event, Mr Lester took on other activities to keep himself busy for the rest of the year.
He is a member of the Taranaki Race Walking Club, he walks in the Olex series, the Taranaki Steelformers Around the Mountain Relay and the Taranaki Master Games and has done aerobics at the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre since 1988.
"I'm out exercising just about the whole year," said Mr Lester, who also goes walking at 6.30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays for between an hour and two hours.
"And on Fridays I go to the gym."
Mr Lester said he also spent a lot of time looking after his garden on the Spotswood property where he has lived since 1941.
It is currently filled with pink and purple spring blooms.
Mr Lester said it saddened him to see how few older people were involved in the events that he participated in.
"There are a lot of 70-year-olds, but once you get to 80 they're gone. I sometimes wonder 'what are they doing?'."
Mr Lester said there was no need for old people to sit at home all the time.
"Get out, do what you want to do, enjoy life."
The 33rd Taranaki Daily News Half Marathon is on Sunday.
Susan Strongman is a Witt journalism student.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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