98-year-old Colin Thorne from Whangarei parkrun has become the oldest person in history to join the parkrun 100 Club. We asked Colin what parkrun means to him, and for his advice on living a long and fulfilling life.
My first parkrun was on 21 January 2017, a week after my 93rd birthday. My time was 50:06 that day. Since then I have done 100 parkruns, all at Whangarei, with a personal best of 41:18.
I have enjoyed sport all my life. I played rugby union and after leaving the Army I played soccer, then I got into hockey in a big way as do many of my family. I also completed 50 marathons and 102 half marathons.
Getting into parkrun was a way for me to meet friends and keep active as I got older. I am pleased to see so many other people keeping active too, which has been helped by the local council putting in the pathway alongside the river. When parkrun was paused during the pandemic, I still walked when I could, and went to the local swimming pool to do ‘water walking’.
Thanks to parkrun, my social circles have increased too. I enjoy meeting the participants on my weekly trip to parkrun, and I catch up with people from parkrun during the week. parkrunners give me so much support every week.
My wife Betty, who passed away just over a year ago, was an inspiration to me. She went to all my had marathons and every marathon except one, which I ran in the United States. My daughter Pauline and son-in-law Rob came to support me at that one, and they are now regular parkrunners too and are always encouraging me.
I still can’t quite explain what it means to become the oldest person ever to reach 100 parkruns, but I do feel like it’s a wonderful achievement to get to this point!
I feel blessed to still be able to drive, go to the gym and walk regularly. My advice for living a long and fulfilling life is to keep your mind and body active and eat healthily.
Photos thanks to Jan Sherley
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