You've probably seen him jogging along local streets. Head down, deep in concentration, getting in a bit more training. His name is Peter Ellis. He turns 80 in July. Kāpiti News caught up with the Paraparaumu running machine to find out a bit about his longtime physical passion.
What prompted you to take up running all those years ago?
I had run all my adult life as training for rugby and later refereeing. I took part in the first Auckland Round the Bays as part of this. Dressed in just rugby shorts, I was thrilled to finish and beat a lot of people in the club running singlets, so I thought I'm not bad at this. Then when I read the results I found someone who was twice my age had beat me, so I started to train harder.
What was your first competitive event, how old were you, and how did you fair?
I ran many events around Auckland and joined up with the Manurewa Athletic and Harrier Club and trained for the Rotorua Marathon which the club always attended and were winners of the team race here at the time. I finished in 3hr 16min. This was in 1977 when I was 36 years old.
Fastest marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km?
Marathon is 2h 49min. Half marathon is 1h 19min. 10km is 38min 28sec. 5km is 17min 47sec. I also did a 100km race in 1987 finishing in 8hr 30min winning the race.
What was your toughest event?
Perhaps the two day mountain marathon I did with training mate Peter Jeromson. This involved orienteering our way around Tongariro National Park. We were runners and made many wrong calls. And later Ironman Hawaii.
Some of your favourite events?
Rotorua Marathon because it was my first but also loved the Waiouru to Taihape which was a 20 mile race. But mainly the training. It's great to be out running and chatting with friends.
Key running highlights?
Running marathons in Hawaii and Australia. And later getting involved in multi-sport which has allowed me to travel overseas.
Most forgettable event?
Wiri Marathon. Travelled over night on the train to run this one and didn't finish.
Who have been your main running rivals?
Everyone was a rival when racing but Roger Childs and I have had many battles over the years in races up to half marathon.
Runners who have helped or inspire you?
Bernie Portenski. We trained together for a number of years and became great friends and rivals.
In your peak, what sort of training did you do each week?
Anything up around 150km to 180km a week. Then when training for ironman 25 to 30 hours a week.
Any injuries of note?
A couple of knee cartilage scrapped.
Go-to running shoe?
What running do you do nowadays?
I try and run five days a week which amounts to about 60km.
Key tips for someone wanting to take up running?
Start small and don't worry if you have a bad run. We all have good and bad runs. Set your self a goal.
Main tips for a runner who wants to improve?
Get a mate to train with if you can. Race over all distances as short races help you get speed. And most important in this day and age - throw away your flash watch, music devices, etc. Train and race as you feel, not as your device tells you to do. Only time specific speed sessions.
What have you enjoyed about running?
Comradeship, mixing with people from all walks of life, some travel to all parts of New Zealand.