Ron Johnson during his record-breaking triple jump performance at the Oceania Masters Athletics…
Ron Johnson during his record-breaking triple jump performance at the Oceania Masters Athletics Championships at the Caledonian Ground yesterday. Photo: Gerard O’Brien
Ron Johnson is making the most of his time in Dunedin this week.
The 85-year-old has so far claimed 12 medals and eight New Zealand records at the Oceania Masters Athletics Championships at the Caledonian Ground.
It is an impressive effort by the Aucklander, who is competing in more events than anyone else at the championships.
He notched his eighth record yesterday in the men’s 85-year-old grade, jumping 5.34m in the triple jump.
While the 12 medals were his most to date, he has experienced plenty of success since starting track and field as a 60-year-old.
Befroe that, he had been a distance runner, originally in Liverpool before moving to New Zealand aged 25.
He enjoys the range of events and does particularly well at decathlon and pentathlon events.
While he feels he is not particularly exceptional at one event nowadays, he is consistent across the board.
He also enjoys meeting people in the combined events, as you spent more time with them than in the individual events.
With not so many athletes competing at his age, he is looking at the records and having a go at all of them.
That was all part of his “give it a go” mantra.
“I just try everything, I try every event,” he said.
“Not many people do it and I say ‘come and have go’ and they say ‘no I’m not going to do that’.
“So the average person, they won’t.
“I’ll do every event from the 100m to the 10km. There’s not one thing I won’t try. I’ll do everything.
“I believe you don’t know what you can do until you try.”
While his background in distance running helped with the 1500m in the decathlon originally, he tended to do the walking events rather than running nowadays.
Arthritis in his foot made running longer distances difficult, although he had done the 1500m in the decathlon this week.
Indeed there will be many people wanting to know his secret to staying in such good condition.
“I’d tell them to have a couple of rum and cokes a night, that’s the answer.
“I need my rum and coke. I read somewhere it thins the blood. It helps you and it’s energy food.
“So sometimes I throw an extra one or two in.”
He was not slowing down in the business world either, owning real estate company Pakuranga & Howick Real Estate. That was a challenge he enjoyed, as he looked to compete with the market’s major players.