Kay, 92, defies strokes of time

By Zac Yates

About six months ago Kay Martin gave up coaching yoga and decided to take up indoor rowing instead. Yesterday she won gold and set a new personal best time at the NZ Masters Games.

Not bad for a 92-year-old.

"I started yoga about 50 years ago, and one day my teacher said she was going off to sail with her husband. I stuck my hand up to take over, and I ended up coaching for 40 years."

The British expat's flirtation with indoor rowing came about after she started going to the gym seven years ago.

"I sort of watched people doing the indoor rowing, and I thought it looked interesting and not too hard. I'm not as good with my walking as I used to be and I thought it would be great, a sport I could do sitting down.

"But of course I soon found out you really do need your legs when you're rowing."

Six months of intensive training - once a week - meant that before coming to Wanganui for the Masters Games she had a personal best time of 3.34 for the 500m row.

Yesterday she clocked 3.22.9.

The fact she was the only one in her 90-100 age group didn't take anything away from her achievement, with a rapturous response from the crowd.

She was presented with a T-shirt by games volunteer Simon Watson, signed by several 2012 Billy Webb Challenge rowers including Olympians Mahe Drysdale and Eric Murray.

Auckland woman Mary Smith said she and husband John came to the games with Kay as a personal support crew, and said they were like her adopted New Zealand family.

"It's great to see her even finish it, not to mention setting a new personal best," Mary said.

Kay wouldn't be drawn on whether she would be back rowing in 2015, but was certain of one thing.

"I've had to be very careful watching what I eat so I didn't get into the heavyweight class, but now I think I'll be living on ice cream and cream cakes."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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