On track for 100th event

Hamilton News - - NEWS - Peter Tif­fany

The Hamil­ton Half Marathon spe­cial 15-year an­niver­sary event on Septem­ber 30 is fast ap­proach­ing.

For 72-year-old cancer sur­vivor Rod Gill it is an even big­ger mile­stone as he aims to achieve his 100th half marathon at the event and break two hours do­ing so.

Al­ready this year he has run 12 half marathons to bring his to­tal to 99 since he took up run­ning when he re­tired five years ago.

“I en­joyed run­ning so­cially, but need­ing more of a chal­lenge, I started run­ning half marathons. In 2016 I mapped out a plan to run 52 half marathons in 52 weeks,” says Rod.

He achieved his goal but in the fi­nal few months he had dif­fi­cul­ties get­ting his breath­ing right and his times were get­ting slower. A visit to the doc­tor brought a di­ag­no­sis of bowel cancer and surgery soon fol­lowed.

“Af­ter surgery and my re­cov­ery pe­riod I was back out run­ning. It took me a good 12 months to re­turn to my best times,” says Rod.

“In the past two years, I’m proud to say, I’ve been on the podium more times than not in my age group.”

Rod joined the Hamil­ton Road Run­ners Club in 2014 where he found tremen­dous sup­port for him and his achieve­ments.

“Be­ing a cancer sur­vivor, I con­sider my­self ex­tremely lucky to be here do­ing what I en­joy im­mensely. If it hadn’t been for my run­ning they wouldn’t have found the symp­toms to my ill­ness,” he says

I have trav­elled all around New Zealand com­pet­ing. I have met many nice peo­ple who love to run.”

The Hamil­ton event is a lo­cal in­sti­tu­tion open to all run­ners and walk­ers and is well known as the run­ning fes­ti­val where there is a dis­tance for every­one.

It was first run in 2004 with the start/fin­ish at Gran­tham St. It later moved to Hamil­ton Gar­dens be­fore find­ing its home now at Flagstaff Park where the event has been held since 2010. The half marathon course now takes in part of the Te Awa river trail.

Photo / Sup­plied

Rod Gill, 72, is look­ing to achieve his 100th half marathon at the an­nual Hamil­ton run fest later this month.

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