“You can’t just watch the TV and sit around all day.”
So says the oldest runner in the resort’s half marathon this weekend, steely Dutch athlete Clasina van der Veeken – who was born 10 years before the first commercial TV broadcast.
The 87-year-old decorated Masters athletics competitor, now of Whangarei, has now completed about 70 marathons and numerous half marathons.
She’ll take on the challenge alongside her grandson Matt on Saturday.
Van der Veeken travelled to Spain to compete in six different events at the World Masters Games earlier this year, taking home five medals, including a gold in the triple jump event.
“It has been tough for me to keep the momentum going,” she says.
“I walk every day, between five and 20 kilometres.”
The great-grandmother’s competed in multiple Masters athletics events since she first started out in 2004, including marathons, 1500 metres and steeplechase, in which she’s set world records.
Having taken the athletics world by storm in her later life, she’s as determined as ever to stay active and enjoy the outdoors.
Van der Veeken says her training’s not going “too bad” and she’ll be “more or less walking” the 21km race.
“I run when I go downhill. I just do my best.”
She’ll be competing in the 70-plus years category on a route that’ll see her start at Speargrass Flat Road and work her way past Lower Shotover, around Frankton alongside the Kawarau River and back to Queenstown along Frankton Track, before finishing at the Rec Ground.
Van der Veeken also competed in the Whangarei half marathon in September, finishing the race in just over three hours and eight minutes.
She’s looking forward to spending tomorrow taking some time to enjoy Queenstown ahead of the big day.