With a new age group comes a new challenge, one that a Rotorua runner is ready to take on.

Colin Earwaker, 60, started running when he was at school, but it wasn't until later that he found out how good he was at it.

Tomorrow he competes in his new age group in the Athletics New Zealand cross-country championships competing in the 8000m masters men 60 to 64 age group.

"I did alright [at school] and then I stopped in my 20s and started again when I was 36 and then sort of got serious when I was 40 and entered into the masters and age group grades."


Earwaker said he had "done okay" ever since - which is somewhat of an understatement.

"I've won the world mountain running champs in my age group twice. I've won my age group in the New York marathon and I've run in heaps of other events all around the world and in New Zealand."

He said for last five years he had concentrated on off road running and trail running in various countries, but mostly in New Zealand.

"That's what I really enjoy now. I still do the odd track race every now and again and the odd marathon every two to three years."

Earwaker said he raced to stay fit and healthy and for the last five years or so he had also got into multi-sport events including mountain biking and paddling.

He said his job involved long hours so he had to juggle his training.

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"I drive a livestock truck all around New Zealand. I love to travel and I always have my running gear with me."

He said his favourite country to run in had to be New Zealand, next to the European Alps, but he had been to many interesting places.

"In Malaysia once I had a whole lot of monkeys get pretty serious at me and I've had a few snakes come out in Australia while I've been running the odd event, and I've seen a few crocs along the way, but managed to stay away from them. Other than that I've had no real dramas."

Tomorrow Earwaker will compete in the Auckland Domain in the 60 to 64 age group for the first time.

"I just turned 60 a few weeks ago so I'm in a new age group so I'll have a crack at that and see how I go.

"I've sort of gone from serious training to semi serious training now, so basically I just run how I feel. I don't run by the ks (kilometres), I run by time now. I do anything between five and 20 hours a week, just depending on the week and what I'm doing at work."

When Earwaker was in his 40s he was running up to 120km a week, he said that was when he was "knocking out marathons and half marathons".

"The body isn't quite up to what it used to be, but I can still keep some of the young ones honest."