Lo­cal farmer a world cham­pion

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - ABBY BROWN

It was lucky the 2015 Ade­laide ITU Duathlon World Cham­pi­onships ‘‘didn’t clash with cows and calves’’ for dairy farmer Steve Wen­zlick.

‘‘I squeezed it in be­tween calv­ing and mat­ing,’’ he said.

The 50-year-old, who farms on Old Te Aroha Rd, won the 50 to 54-year-old age group in the sprint cat­e­gory on Oc­to­ber 18.

The New Zealand cham­pion, hav­ing won two New Zealand qual­i­fy­ing races to en­ter the event, ran five kilo­me­tres, then biked 20km and then ran 2.5km ‘‘flat out’’ at the event.

He said his goal had been to win a gold medal ‘‘even if I had to keep go­ing un­til I was 80’’.

Wen­zlick was grate­ful the Mata­mata Har­ri­ers Club, which he is a mem­ber of, had spon­sored him.

Wen­zlick runs or cy­cles, on av­er­age, be­tween one to two-and-a-quar­ter-hours each day.

‘‘Be­cause my event is only a sprint race my long­est train­ing rides are only about two-and-a quar­ter-hours, but I try to keep the pace up. I try to con­cen­trate on in­ten­sity in­stead of dis­tance.’’

He ei­ther runs or cy­cles on roads and some­times runs on the trails like the Wairere Falls track.

‘‘I’ve got to say train­ing in Mata­mata is fan­tas­tic. It’s the best en­vi­ron­ment. You don’t have to worry about traf­fic lights, ve­hi­cles and all the other rub­bish that Auck­lan­ders have to worry about.’’

He said rac­ing and train­ing was ‘‘not ex­actly en­joy­able’’ be­cause of the toll it had on the body, but hav­ing goals helped.

This was the sixth time Wen­zlick had en­tered the world cham­pi­onship duathlon com­pe­ti­tion since 1990.

His pre­vi­ous best re­sult was com­ing sixth in the 25 to 29-year-old age group­ing in 1990.

His worst age group per­for­mance was 23rd in the men’s 35 to 39-year-old age group at the world champs in Bel­gium in 2004. He had had to bike 17km from the ho­tel to the event and ‘‘ate the wrong break­fast’’ so he got the stitch.

He ini­tially com­peted in triathlons but found his swim­ming ‘‘wasn’t the great­est’’.

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