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