At 68 years of age, Alton Melville, a member of the Te Awamutu Marathon Clinic, decided to take on Hamilton's Kirikiriroa Marathon in his bare feet.
He completed eight full marathons in 2019 and he decided that bare feet running would be a new challenge for him.
Alton discovered that people usually train for around a year to harden up their bare feet to the rough surfaces.
"I was running alongside a guy that knew all about running in bare feet and he said, you need at least a year to harden your feet up and to learn to land more on your toes," said Alton.
"I was woefully ill prepared. I only started off three weeks before the marathon when I stayed at my daughter's place and I had to go to Pak'nSave to get something and I didn't have a car, so I ran down in jandals.
"I took the jandals off and I thought this isn't too bad. That didn't hurt my feet too much."
His training became running on a broken concrete driveway to get the soles of his feet used to the sharp textures.
"I basically just walked or jogged where the concrete's pretty worn on the sharp metal on my driveway for three weeks. I do use bare feet quite a lot anyway, so my feet were reasonably hard."
Alton chose to run the Kirikiriroa Marathon because it's mostly on footpaths with about a kilometre of metal.
"I thought I could run on the grass but by the Fonterra factory, the security fence comes right up to the edge of the tar seal."
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He soon learnt to keep his eyes open for broken bottles and other obstacles.
After eight kilometres he first noticed blood and more after 28 kilometres when he received a puncture wound from some glass.
"Then there was crossing the road of course. I had to run on the tar seal then. Half a kilometre into it there was about 100 metres of really sharp stone, it was through the patch of bush, so you couldn't walk alongside it."
In the hot midday sun, the bottom of his feet started to burn a bit on the tar seal and on the concrete.
"When I was starting to get tired, I didn't lift my feet properly on the tar seal and I dragged my feet and lost all the skin on the end of my toes," said Alton.
"I got cramp, sore calf muscles and sore quadriceps because I was landing my feet differently. My abductor tendons were pretty sore because I was treading more on the grass and it was uneven."
He carried his shoes in a backpack as a precaution in case of a serious injury or wound.
"With about 10 kilometres to go I really needed to put my shoes on but I wasn't giving up there. I was determined to finish, so I didn't put them on."
Alton completed the marathon in 5 hours 58 minutes.
The next day he ran 14 kilometres for the Kakepuku Club run, this time he was wearing shoes.
Just one week later he ran his second marathon in two weeks as he took on the Waiheke Island marathon.
"That's the hardest one I've ever done. They know how to hide hills behind hills, behind hills," said Alton.
"I did two personal worst times in two weeks. The Hamilton marathon was a personal worst because I had to walk quite a bit of it because I was in bare feet."
At Waiheke, he placed first in his age group, completing the race in 6 hours and just under 2 minutes.
"I've been the bridesmaid so many times. I've come second in my age group several times."
He has achieved three second placings in his age group and was 24th male at the Gold Coast event last year in the 65-69 age groups.
His fastest time last year was at Massey, finishing in 4 hours and 43 minutes.
When Alton first joined Te Awamutu Marathon Clinic in the 1980s, he enjoyed the challenge of marathon running and the camaraderie of belonging to the clinic.
Alton had to stop because he had bad knees. After almost 25 years he had two knee replacements.
In 2018 Alton decided to give marathon running another go.
He has now done 17.