Ath­lete back com­pet­ing

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO / JOHN STONE

Ruth Hutchin­son was back on the wind trainer just three weeks af­ter ma­jor surgery to have a tu­mour re­moved from her ab­domen.

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