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Peter’s remarkable recovery

By Jake Beleski

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Even dying was not enough to keep Masterton athlete Peter Tearle from following his passion for fitness.

The 90-year-old recently competed at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth in the 90+ age group, and defied his recent health issues to return with two silver medals and a bronze.

He thought his career was over after a heart attack in Turkey last year, during which he passed away before being revived by a defibrillator.

That followed a severe bout of pneumonia that had left him contemplating a life without any physical activity.

“It was a bad year last year.

“The pneumonia really knocked me — it took me over 12 months to get over that and then I had the heart attack in the middle.”

Despite a series of events that would resign most people to a life of limited exercise and physical activity, he said there were still positive elements.

“The heart attack in some ways might have helped because it cleared up my circulation.

“The pneumonia mucked up my lungs and left me short of breath and energy, that was the worst part.”

He headed to Perth to compete in his favoured events, the 10,000m road race walk, 5000m track walk and discus.

The two silvers came in the walking events, with times of 3h 29m 25s in the 10,000m and 48m 56s in the 5000m.

His throw of 12.86m in the discus earned him a bronze.

There was never any doubt he would return to sport once he recovered from his heart attack, he said.

“It’s just a way of life.

“I’ve got to do something — you can’t just give up.”

He was on a cruise with younger brother Donald when he suffered his heart attack, and Donald said it had been a frightening experience for all involved.

“He dropped dead on the quay in Turkey.

“I walked back and there he was, brown bread.

“They chucked him in the ambulance, put me in the front and that was it.”

Peter said he had been looking to cut back on events in recent years, and technology had assisted that process.

“These days everything is online and I’m not, so I don’t get the entry forms that I used to.

“I miss out sometimes.

“Next for me is the Masters Games at Whanganui in February next year, so I’ve booked in for that.”

His goal of reaching 100 years of age was alive and well, despite one of the most eventful years of his life.

“I thought I was going to have a poor year this year, but it turned out to be one of the best years I’ve had.”

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