Jim Barr celebrates finishing his 75th birthday Marathon. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ATHLETICS

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

The bubbly was flowing for Masterton man Jim Barr as he completed a solo Marathon on Saturday to celebrate his 75th birthday.

Barr had intended running the Hawke’s Bay Marathon, which was scheduled for Saturday, along with his extended family, some who were travelling from London and Melbourne.

However, with the event cancelled because of the covid-19 pandemic that forced a change of plans for Barr, he decided to run the Wairarapa Country Marathon course instead.

Barr set out early on Saturday morning and just over six hours seven minutes later crossed the “finishing line” outside the Henley Lake gates.

He was greeted by wife Barbara and family and friends, who presented him with a medal and glass of bubbles.

It was Barr’s 27th marathon and although he has slowed over the years, having run a personal best of 2:55.11 in the 1986 Hastings Marathon, he was proud of his latest achievement.

“In a race, you get a buzz from having other people around you so that normally works to your advantage and makes you run a little faster and you tend or hope to maintain that throughout the race,” he said.

“I settled into a good rhythm and ran the whole way and didn’t stop or walk at any stage.

“I had intended to walk up the two hills on the Pakarakas, especially on the second time round, but I managed to run up both times.”

“I ran the first 35km at about eight and half minute pace and then slowed down a bit as always happens in a marathon.

“The telling thing is Barb said I looked good when I finished, so I probably should’ve gone a bit harder.”

Barr intends to have a few days off before he resumes training, with at least one long run a week.

“I will seriously consider running the Wairarapa Country Marathon in October, if it is still on.”

As for the cancelled Hawke’s Bay Marathon, Barr said the family had been given the option of transferring their entry to this year’s Auckland Marathon or Queenstown Marathon, or rolling over their entry to the 2021 event.