Athlete back competing
A Whanga¯ rei athlete has taken a potentially life-threatening health scare in her stride as she continues to represent New Zealand on the world stage.
In August last year, Ruth Hutchinson went to Canada to take part in the World Duathlon Championships. She won the silver medal in the 45-49 female age group.
“That was my first ever time representing New Zealand.”
She said when she came back, she felt like she was at the top of her game.
A few weeks later she had some pain in her abdomen and noticed there was a lump.
After a doctor ordered some scans the 47-year-old was sent for surgery at the end of October.
“That made me have to stop exercising.”
A tumour weighing around 1kg, with dimensions of 20 x 11 x 11cm, was removed.
It was only a couple of weeks after surgery, when test results came back, that she found out what it actually was: a fibroid — a benign growth on the uterus.
Hutchinson took the whole thing in her stride. She describes herself as “not really a worrier”.
“I was doing what I could as soon as I could.”
That’s no understatement — she was back on the wind trainer three weeks after surgery, swimming soon after that and running after 10 weeks.
The selection race to represent New Zealand in the ITU Age Group races as part of the ITU Triathlon World Cup Final on the Gold Coast was held in February.
“I wanted to be fit enough to get selected,” she said.
Not surprisingly, she achieved that and the comeback was complete in less than a year.
She travelled to the Gold Coast in mid-september to race in the sprint discipline of a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
She finished 16th in her 45-49 age group and was happy with her time of 1:11:38.
“I don’t think I’m as fast yet as I was last year. I think there’s a bit more to go,” she said.
The longtime runner and multisport athlete is a member of the Whangarei Tri Club, Marsden Wheelers and Whanga¯ rei Harriers.
Two other members of the Whanga¯ rei Tri Club also raced at the Gold Coast event.
Mike Gowing was fifth and Chris Seeley 16th in the 60-64 male race in the standard triathlon distance event.
Ruth Hutchinson was back on the wind trainer just three weeks after major surgery to have a tumour removed from her abdomen.