He jogs around in a singlet and shorts, bends over effortlessly to tie the laces of his running shoes, then limbers up ready for the task ahead.

It's incredible to believe that Brian Watson is 80, as he sets out for another run.

But then the average age of the current membership of Levin Harriers Club could be used in any advertisement to highlight the value of keeping fit, as the group gathered to mark the start of another season at the weekend.

Watson wasn't the only member to sip from a fountain of youth. Bob Slade and Barry and Pauline Coupland are both 78, and laced up for another season.


Bob Slade, 78, said he had run all his life and found it a great way to keep well and stay fit. He still ran at least three times a week, with rest days in between.

"We're used to it, you see. I don't run every day. That's how I last," he said.

"We get out and about and see the countryside. We don't do the same run each time and it's good to look at different scenery.

He said it wasn't a race, and found belonging to the club better than exercising alone. Staying fit had helped him run 14 marathons.

Barry Coupland had 40 marathons under his belt, and he and wife Pauline oozed youthfulness well beneath their years.

The barbecue was fired up to mark the start of the new season at the Tiro Tiro Road clubrooms at the open day.

The clubrooms have cooking and showering facilities and have acted as a place to meet and house trophies, newsletters and to socialise since 1965.

The club was originally set up by former Wellington man Bob Irvine in 1960 along with David Lewis, and five years later became the Levin Harrier Club, its current title.

The club was always keen to attract younger members, and new members are always welcome, they said.


The club has been pro-active to stay relevant, often changing their name to suit the times and accept new trends.

During the 1980s the popularity of running increased and the club changed its name to the Harriers and Walkers Club, to provide a supportive environment for walkers.

Walking also provided a lower-impact opportunity for runners recovering from injury.

But in 2008 it changed its name to the Levin Harrier and Multi-sport Club to cater for those interested in more than running and walking, as many members were also active cyclists.

The club continues to stage The Gladstone Gallop, an annual run held in November which first started in 1980.

Many club members also help with marshalling at the Great Forest Marathon, next Saturday, April 13, at Waitarere Beach.