Her ambitious goal is to claim New Zealand records in as many sports
as possible, and Tania Hodges is not a woman to shy away from a challenge.

Hodges, 53, already holds multiple New Zealand masters records across athletics, indoor rowing, and weightlifting in the 50-54 year age division.

It all started in her local Hamilton CrossFit gym, where Hodges set herself a challenge to make it onto the record-holders' board.

At that stage, she didn't mind which record she broke, she just wanted was to accomplish her goal.

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So on her 50th birthday, despite a shoulder injury, Hodges set her sights on the indoor rowing machine, where she smashed the 500m sprint record, claiming top spot on the board.

"I thought to myself 'I wonder what the New Zealand record is for my age group' and I looked up and that was the first time I thought I wanted to get some New Zealand records in different sports," she said.

I just want to lead by example and show that anything is possible, and there shouldn't be any barriers on things that we want to do in life.

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Starting with indoor rowing, Hodges claimed two New Zealand records and the gold medal at the 2015 New Zealand Masters Games.

In 2016, Hodges started competing in athletics, and after one year of training she claimed the New Zealand shot put record at the Masters indoor championships.

Hodges also competed for New Zealand in the 2017 World Masters Games, where her best of 10.49m in the shot put earned her the bronze medal.

She then swapped throwing for lifting to qualify and compete in the National Masters Weightlifting Championships last December, were she claimed gold in snatch, clean and jerk along with yet another New Zealand record.

And already this year she has claimed seven golds and four silver medals in athletics from the Oceania Masters track and field championships, and National Masters athletics championships.

In true weekend warrior style, Hodges accomplished it all while she ran her successful consultancy company, sat on multiple community boards, and kept her busy household in check.

Tania Hodges also competed for New Zealand in the 2017 World Masters Games. Photo / Alan Gibson
Tania Hodges also competed for New Zealand in the 2017 World Masters Games. Photo / Alan Gibson

For most people who lead a busy lifestyle like Hodges, sport can often become an afterthought, especially when you are not a paid professional athlete.
Motivation and time can often feel impossible to find.

However, Hodges is determined to prove that sport and physical activity should be at the forefront of life, and more specifically, shouldn't be something people give up on after a certain age.

"It's a great way for us to take control of our health, and it's one thing to contribute towards practising wellness — just because you get older doesn't mean you need to become inactive and be unfit," said Hodges.

"Unless we look after ourselves, how can we look after others? It's about being self-full. Lots of people spend lots of time giving to others and doing things for others, and this is one thing that we can do for ourselves."

"If we are well and healthy then we can give more, and we can be around a lot longer, so there's benefits all around. It's about us taking our health back really."

And as for the people who argue a lack of time, Hodges had only one thing to say.

"You make time. If it's important enough you'll make time to do it."

Despite her considerable success, Hodges mostly trains socially and has always felt that participating in sport was her "down-time".

"I lead a pretty busy lifestyle but I love being fit and I love sports and it's my down time, having such a busy life, this is my outlet really," she said.

Tania Hodges pictured hard at work in her exercise session. Photo / Alan Gibson
Tania Hodges pictured hard at work in her exercise session. Photo / Alan Gibson

"I've got a competitive head but I train socially; I love just trying to be physically fit and healthy, interacting with others, like the social side mixing with different groups of people."

Hodges says her intentions have always been to live as an example for her family and the "little challenges" she's accomplished have just been one way she has been able to achieve that.

"The medals I got ... those are fantastic but I think it's about being an example for my kids ... that's my biggest achievement," said Hodges.

"As a whanau we set goals and our thing is all about having no regrets in life and living life to the full, and so we set goals every year. I just want to lead by example and show that anything is possible, and there shouldn't be any barriers on things that we want to do in life."

With no intentions of holding back, Hodges plans to tackle as many records as she can, with the ultimate goal of being competitive at a higher level.

"I'd like to be competitive at an international level now that I've had a bit of a taste for the different sports," she said.

"I'd like to compete in a few international competitions and build up to be actually competitive in that international level for Masters."

"There's no reason why New Zealand Masters athletes can't be known around the world for any sport, and that would be great for our country."