Peter Tearle in action at the Oceania Masters Games in Dunedin. PHOTO/STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Peter Tearle is not your average 91-year-old.
The Masterton athlete recently returned from the Oceania Masters Games in Dunedin, where he was a star competitor in the 90-plus age group.
He returned with an impressive haul of seven gold medals, and his biggest issue now is finding room for them all on his medal wall.
Tearle won his medals in the shot put, discus, javelin and weight throw, as well as the 3km, 5km and 10km walks.
Admittedly he was the only competitor in his age group in some of the events, but in others he had to stave off some strong competition from his fellow athletes.
“I set six records for my age group, and it was only the javelin that let me down,” Tearle said.
“The thing was they were records and I was also beating my personal bests in a lot of them.”
His best throw in the javelin was 9.77m, and in the shot put, discus and weight throw he managed bests of 6.26m, 12.91m and 7.27m respectively.
His fine form in the throwing events could be put down to his frequent visits to the gym.
“I go to the gym more or less every other day, which certainly helps with the throwing events.
“Last November I went to the North Island Games at Inglewood, and I tried out the shot put and the javelin, and they were two events I hadn’t touched for 60-odd years.”
Tearle has suffered his fair share of health issues in the past, including having to be revived by a defibrillator after a heart attack in Turkey in 2015.
Then there was a severe bout of pneumonia that left him contemplating a life without physical activity.
He says his age is catching up to him slowly, but nothing will keep him from doing what he loves.
“I’m coping well but it’s catching up with me.
“It definitely slows you down — the 10km race I did, I was about 12 minutes slower than what I did in Perth 18 months earlier.”
The next couple of months will be hectic for Tearle, as he looks to attend the national championships in Whangarei and Taranaki Masters Games.
It may be two years until the next Oceania Masters Games, but Tearle said he would be doing his best to defend his medals at the event.
“That’s the idea, but it’s a long way off yet.
“It’s something to look forward to — if I wasn’t doing this I don’t know what I would be doing.”