It was at the 1985 Rotorua Marathon that Peter Sheaf "caught the bug".
At the sprightly age of almost 50, Sheaf took on the marathon for the first time and said a spark was ignited resulting in the completion of 20 international, and countless national, marathons.
This weekend he returns to the place it all started to take on the 10km walking event at the 55th Rotorua Marathon.
And yes, your math is correct – Sheaf is now 83.
"The 21st running of this great event [the 1985 Rotorua Marathon] began a lifetime of worldwide marathons for me so naturally, Rotorua is a special place for me," Sheaf said.
He also competed in the 1986 Rotorua Marathon and said he would have been back for more had he and his wife not moved to Australia.
"Unfortunately I was forced in to early marathon retirement when I had a hip replacement 12 years ago. My surgeon growled me for competing in a marathon three months after the operation but he never said anything about walking."
As well as walking marathons, Sheaf joined the Egmont Athletic Club three years ago when he and his wife moved to New Plymouth after 25 years in Australia.
"I'm very active in veterans and masters games and enjoy travelling the world competing. I've started running in the 100, 200 and 400m track events and also compete in long jump."
He said he has amassed numerous athletics medals, including a swag of golds, and even holds a number of records for his age group.
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"You're probably wondering if I have any age-group competition and, I have to admit, sometimes there's not. Maybe that's why I hold so many records," he laughed.
"But last year I was competing at the Pan Pacific Games and there were five of us in my age-group. I got a number of fourth placings in the sprints but managed a gold in the long jump."
Sheaf describes himself as a "fun-runner" and said he never entered anything with winning in mind.
"I do it because I love it and feel very blessed that I still can do it.
"I initially entered this weekend's 5km walking event but upgraded it to the 10km which I know I can do comfortably. I know as I compete, the memories will certainly be flowing."
What: 55th Rotorua Marathon
When: Tomorrow, from 8am
Where: Starting at the Energy Events Centre