Long trek no barrier for pair

By David Ogilvie


Maggie Roberts visited New Zealand more than 50 years ago.

She admits her memory's a little "faded" about that trip.

Husband Mike has never been this way at all, In fact he's a West Australian who met "East" Australian Maggie in the middle in Darwin and they've been together since.

Now they've decided, at the urgings of an un-named Darwin swimmer who's been at the Wanganui Masters before to try the River City for the New Zealand Masters starting on February 1, 2013.

Let's face it, the temperatures in Darwin will be pretty tough at that time of the year. Far better the temperate Wanganui atmosphere.

Sport is always something they've done together, playing and watching when their three children were younger.

Now they're into it in a riveting fashion. Maggie at 74 is taking on more events in Wanganui than most would consider the right thing to do.

But it's a long way to come and competing is what Masters is all about.

Try this out for size: 3000m walk, javelin, shot put, discus, 5km walk, 10km walk, cross-country walk, 500m indoor rowing, 100m freestyle, 25m free, 4x25m medley, 50m breaststroke, 100m and 200m backstroke.

And we've probably missed two or three events there.

Husband Mike, at 12 years younger, is equally busy with his list.

3000m walk, javelin, 100m, shot put, hammer, long jump, discus 5km and 10km walk, cross-country walk, 500m indoor rowing.

Maggie charts their path: "Mike and I came to the territory over 40 years ago.

"Mike was from the West and I from the East of Australia.

"We both loved the territory lifestyle and the outdoor life of camping, fishing and exploring.

"We kept up our fitness, Mike with his survey work and I with my teaching.

"My main love was swimming and Mike played competitive squash.

"I also got into triathlons and long distance walking plus life saving."

But life always has its change points and the Roberts were no different.

"Our family life gave us other interests and, of course, three kids and three different sports, as they do, kept us observing rather than competing for quite some years.

"But my first Masters Games was in Alice Springs as a 40-year-plus competitor and I participated in five different sports. I was hooked!

"I went to another three Masters in Alice and finally two years ago convinced Mike to come and try. Like me he was hooked and found fun and friendships on and off the field."

And someone has a sense of humour in looking at exercise in Darwin's heat.

"We joined the MAD [Mature Athletes Darwin] Frog group to get some practice in our field events.

"This year we were back in Alice once again to have fun and enjoy the competition. Age is no barrier."

So how did they get Wanganui in their sights?

"Back in Darwin a swimmer said we should try competing in the New Zealand Masters as they had done so years ago and were impressed with the fun and friendship they had enjoyed [you do have a fan here in Darwin].

"And we looked online and found there was indeed plenty of options to fill in our time at Wanganui.

"Mike has never been to New Zealand and my only visit, 50-odd years ago, is a little faded so we are looking forward to exploring the North Island and hopefully God willing will be able to return when the games are in the South Island to do some further exploring.

"We are looking forward to meeting everyone in February," said Maggie.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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