Do or die for novice athletes
Kilometres piling up, kilograms falling away
Stella Teariki thought she would literally have a heart attack the first time she went to a fitness class – but six months later, she’s training for a half-marathon.
Teariki is part of a group of about 20 unlikely candidates being trained up by former Hurricane Ace Tiatia to compete in a Taupo multisport event in December.
‘‘ I’m approaching it like an exam,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t want to get to Taupo and go, hmm, maybe I should have trained a bit more,’’ she said. ‘‘I want to be prepared for this big thing in my life.’’
Teariki took a 12-week fitness challenge Tiatia was running earlier this year, and has dropped from nearly 200 kilograms to 160kg since.
‘‘I was scared I was going to die – literally thought I was going to die of a heart attack. I went to Ace, looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘I am so scared’, and he said, ‘You’ll be fine’.’’
Teariki, 44, is now running three times a week as well as going to fitness classes, hoping to be able to run 21 kilometres by December.
‘‘I’m scared, but not as scared as I was that first day at The Grind.
‘‘I know that if I’m going to achieve this I need to . . . work.’’
Tiatia, who runs A-Team Training, said he had great faith the whole group would reach their goals, and felt privileged to be training them.
‘‘I was lucky I was a professional athlete for 15 years, and they’re getting a feel of what it’s like to train like an athlete.’’
Takapuwahia’s Eric Shaw is joining Teariki, but taking on the half-Ironman – a 2km swim, a 90km bike and a 21km run.
‘‘I want to finish it, but I’m not going to be the first one over the line – I just want to put in what I want out of it, to be as fit as I can to do it,’’ he said.
Shaw started Tiatia’s training about a year ago, after he found himself sitting at home, bored and putting on weight, while his wife was overseas.
‘‘ After the first week I just about thought, ‘What the heck am I doing this for?’ and threw in the towel, but I started to enjoy it and started to feel a bit better, and started losing a few kilos.’’
He has dropped from 95kg to 82kg, and to cap off a week of swimming, running and fitness classes, he does a 60km bike on Paekakariki Hill Rd.
‘‘You kinda get hooked on it – I’ll be 60 in November and it’s probably the fittest I’ve been in my life.’’
Memory Craig, 52, said that a year ago she couldn’t have run more than 500 metres without running out of puff.
‘‘There was no way I could run a whole lap of Aotea Lagoon without stopping six or seven times, now I can run 14 laps of that non-stop – which is 10km,’’ she said.
She’s part of a three- person team tackling the half-Ironman, and is up at 5am most days to prepare for what will be a 2km swim in December.
Memory has lost about 18kg since she started training about a year ago, and said it was Tiatia’s attitude that has kept her going.
‘‘You do well in an environment that you enjoy, that’s supportive and makes you feel welcome and where they high-five you every time you leave the gym.’’
No spare tyre: From left, Eric Shaw, Memory Craig and Stella Teariki have confronted their fitness and weight problems and are aiming to compete in a multisport event in Taupo.