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100-year-old Set To Participate In 60th Anniversary Red Stag Rotorua Marathon

Colin Thorne

Remarkable centenarian Colin Thorne is set to put the curtain down on his Red Stag Rotorua Marathon journey next month as the 100-year-old participates in the First Credit Union 5.5km on Saturday 4 May.

Whangarei-based Colin has a long history with the iconic race, completing 22 full Red Stag Rotorua Marathons, the most recent of which took place in 2014 when the former dairy farmer was aged 90.

Still incredibly active, Colin regularly participates in parkruns and exercises six times a week combining walking with gym work and aqua jogging to keep in shape.

His next big goal is to compete over the 5.5km distance as part of the 60th anniversary edition of the Red Stag Rotorua Marathon – which he believes is the perfect opportunity to sign off his longstanding history with the event.

“I’m suffering a bit now,” he explains. “I had a knee replacement 18 years ago and my right hip has worn away and I also only walk these days. But as it is the 60th anniversary, I thought I’ll do the 5.5km walk, that will be long enough. I’m looking forward to it.”

A former hockey umpire, Colin only took up running at the age of 64 to “do something for himself” and he joined the local Hatea Harriers. Immediately hooked within his first year of running he completed his first marathon in Whangarei and on the encouragement of a friend he completed his maiden Rotorua Marathon in 1989.

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Having competed almost half his 50 marathons in Rotorua, Colin understandably has a close affinity with the event, which has given him so many rich memories over the years.

“There is something about Rotorua, it holds a certain attraction,” says Colin, who recorded his fastest Rotorua Marathon time of 3:28:33 as a 68-year-old in 1992. “The hills out the back are a challenge. Rotorua is always something special, although I think a full marathon would be a bit far for me today.”

Walking the race with his daughter, Pauline Dinsdale and his son-in-law Rob, Colin has fairly modest goals for the 2024 Red Stag Rotorua Marathon.

“I’ve been walking a lot of parkruns so I can probably comfortably do the 5km,” he says. “But I’d rather do that than strain myself completing the 10km. I realise I’m a bit old now, but I’ve been very blessed and I’m very lucky to still be entering races.”

Colin a great-great grandfather admitted he “broke down in tears” after completing his first Rotorua Marathon and while he will not be quite as emotional when he crosses the finish line next month, he hopes his presence at the 60th anniversary event will act as a spur to others.

“Hopefully it will encourage others to get off their backside and go out for a run, that is what I would love to see,” he adds.

***The 60th anniversary Red Stag Rotorua Marathon takes place on Friday-Saturday 3-4 May and offers a menu of six race options.

© Scoop Media

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