Mad dogs, English­men . . .and Mar­cus May­don

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PET­RICE TARRANT

Most peo­ple con­sider a wet and windy win­ter in­evitable. But not Mar­cus May­don. The sum­mer lov­ing Brit has not ex­pe­ri­enced the cold sea­son in seven years, trav­el­ling be­tween Eng­land and Toko­roa ev­ery six months. And he has an en­vi­ous tan to prove it. As­ton­ish­ingly, Mr May­don spends less than he would if he en­dured all four sea­sons in one coun­try.

‘‘What it costs me in air­fares I save on fuel,’’ he said.

‘‘I haven’t had a wood fire here since I ar­rived, it’s so warm.’’

Mr May­don says he used to spend at least $2000 a year on heat­ing while his flights have never ex­ceeded $ 1800 re­turn.

Such a no­madic life­style is the per­fect way to visit fam­ily on both sides of the world, he says, and his adventures are all funded via the pen­sion.

The re­tired horse racer said the money keeps rolling in be­cause he does not leave Eng­land for more than a year.

When you ask why he chose to set­tle in Toko­roa he replies ‘‘why not?’’.

‘‘If there’s one lit­tle bit of heaven in a place I al­ways make cer­tain I see, it is when you en­ter the [Milford] Sound sail­ing down to Pic­ton,’’ Mr May­don says.

‘‘I must have done it 50 times but you can’t live on a boat, so Toko­roa is a good sec­ond best.’’

He says the clock winds back ev­ery time he ar­rives.

‘‘No dis­re­spect to the Ki­wis but New Zealand is 20 years be­hind Eng­land.’’

And he rev­els at the con­cept of liv­ing ba­sic. ‘‘I love it, it makes me feel younger.’’ A lack of six-laned high­ways and sky scrap­ers is a draw­card for the witty marathon run­ner who has never owned a car, com­puter or phone dur­ing his stays in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

He ped­als around town on a vin­tage bi­cy­cle, white hair tan­gling from his white hel­met, em­ploy­ing the an­cient mode of com­mu­ni­ca­tion – face to face.

It no doubt keeps him fit, not that health is an is­sue for the grand­fa­ther who, at 67kg, gets up at ‘‘spar­row’s fart’’ to run 12 miles.

There is no hint of ex­ag­ger­a­tion in his voice when he says he has con­quered more than 1000 half marathons and 250 full ones. That is the equiv­a­lent of jog­ging to Tur­key and back.

‘‘I’m sure they call me the mad Pom be­hind my back but the peo­ple here are so nice,’’ he said.

The South Waikato pro­vides a sweet es­cape from the crime-rid­dled nest Eng­land has be­come, he said.

‘‘Toko­roa is safer than any English town, es­pe­cially for ladies.’’ And so he keeps com­ing back. His cheeky, vi­brant na­ture has seen him merge into the Toko­roa com­mu­nity with ease.

Last year he founded the cheese rolling com­pe­ti­tion which will hit the hills this year on March 8.

There is one thing on his bucket list he must tick off be­fore say­ing good­bye to the ‘‘sleepy lit­tle back­wa­ter town’’.

‘‘I might leave Tok when the sign on State High­way One has got a pic­ture of cheese say­ing ‘Cheese Rolling Cap­i­tal of the Coun­try’ – and I’m de­ter­mined it’s go­ing to hap­pen.’’

Another goal he is driven to ac­com­plish is typ­i­cal Mar­cus.

‘‘I’m go­ing to run a marathon when I’m 100.’’

Crack­ing a grin he says his age is some­thing he does not cal­cu­late in years.

‘‘You’re as young as the woman you feel.’’

That is a se­cret he is sav­ing for a wet win­ter’s day.

Photo: PET­RICE TARRANT

Sum­mer lover: There’s no such thing as hang­ing out for sum­mer for Mar­cus May­don who has not ex­pe­ri­enced a win­ter in seven years.

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