30/1/1923 - 3/5/2010
My father's funeral was last week and as he requested it was a simple ceremony but full of love and respect for what he had achieved in his life. My father had a hard upbringing in childhood during The Depression in rural Australia and then as a young man served for four years in the Army in World War 2 including duty in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. This upbringing instilled in him an incredible work ethic and a fighting spirit. This would help him enormously in his running career.
When I was a boy my father played Lawn Bowls. In 1985, he came down to the Gold Coast to watch Kathy (My Wife) and I compete in the Marathon. We had started running marathons whilst living in England in 1982. I guess when we got back home to Australia it raised a bit of curiosity when we would spend so much of our time running all over the place. Anyway it seems he was motivated that day seeing us and all the other competitors run and decided to give jogging a go. So at the age of 63 he started.
He must have got the bug because he stuck with it and by 1989 and at age 66 was ready to enter his first race a Half Marathon at West End. His debut time was 1:49:50. A few weeks later he completed the Gold Coast Half Marathon in 1:47:46 (his PB).
After the GC Half in 1989.
Later that year he joined the Qld Veteran's Athletics Club (as it was called then) and became a regular competitor in Master's events over the next 10 years. In 1990 he returned to Gold Coast to make his Marathon debut at age 67. He did 3:55:55 that day, came third in his age group and won $75. A lot of debut marathoners aim to get a sub-4 time but many fail and of those that do succeed, next to none are his age.
Finishing GCM 1990.
He relished competing. At Veteran's event he would go in everything from the 100m to the 10,000m, from the long jump to the javelin.
Recently my cousin recounted a story about my father. He had meet a guy about 38 years old who had just started attending Veterans events. Enquiring about whether this guy knew my father it was finally established that he was the old guy who turned up at events two hours before hand and helped to get all the equipment out and set up, who then competed in all the events and then was there for two hours after packing up. That was the type of guy my father was.
He enjoyed travelling to Australian Master Games at Easter time and won many gold, silver and bronze medals at these events.
He went on to complete four marathons in total, the last being a 4:18 at the Gold Coast in 1995.
His last competitive races were at the Australian Masters Games in April 1998 where as a 75 year old he managed Gold in 10k & 5k, Silver in 1500m and Bronze in 800m. He started to get arthritis in his left knee which stopped him running. But he continued to help as a volunteer in athletics especially with the Flying Four at Ashgrove Rangers Running Club and in 2003 was awarded Life Membership at the club for his services.
Here is a list of his PBs
Event Time Age
100m 16.2 67
200m 34.8 69
400m 1:18.8 67
800m 3:01.8 67
1500m 6:08.0 67
5000m 22:15.4 66
10000m 47:28.6 67
Half 1:47:46 66
Marathon 3:55:55 67