Do or die for novice ath­letes

Kilo­me­tres pil­ing up, kilo­grams fall­ing away

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By TESSA JOHNSTONE

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.’’

Photo: ROSS GI­B­LIN

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.

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