Council boss run off his feet

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He might run the council, but he also runs a good race.

Queenstown council CEO Mike Theelen, who’s closing on 50 half marathons, runs yet another one this Saturday – the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Half Marathon.

The 58-year-old, who’s run since the mid-’80s, completed his first Queenstown half, in 2016, in 1hr 45min and ran this year’s easier Southern Lakes (or Wanaka) half in 1:42.

He’d meant to run the full Queenstown marathon last year – having completed his only one in Dunedin, in 2015, in 3:42 – but pulled out after he was “really quite sick” for a week-and-a-half.

He’s entered the half again this Saturday after not running at all during a recent month-long break in Europe, but may try again for the full marathon next year.

Theelen’s run all his long races in New Zealand but next month is doing a half just outside Brisbane. “God knows how I’ll go because the temperature will be shocking – I think that will be my first post-two-hour one.”

Theelen says he also swims a lot – “I use that as a counter-balance to the running” – and bikes, too. All this exercise helps not only his fitness but his stress management, he says.

“There are some days, particularly when you’re away from the road, you get those moments where you sort of feel at one with the world, and everything around you.

“A lot of the time it’s also really hard.”

– PHILIP CHANDLER