Turkey for triathlon


Turkey, beer and Christmas pudding – these are Queenstowner Matt Booth’s training secrets before he enters this Sunday’s Lake Hayes triathlon.

Booth, 30, won’t hold back on eating and drinking on the festive days before his second-ever triathlon. And as for exercise, he hasn’t done much since entering the inaugural Jack’s Point triathlon earlier this month.

“I’d see [Christmas] as an opportunity to fuel up. You’ve got your proteins with your turkey, your vitamins with your carrots and peas and potatoes provide the carbs,” he says.

“And on Boxing Day, simply because it’s a lot of protein, I might have a nice big toad in the hole [sausage and Yorkshire pudding].

And, well you always meet your mates down at the pub on Boxing Day, don’t you?”

Booth, who came to Queenstown from the United Kingdom in 2008, jokes he’s the “token tub of lard” at his workplace, Active New Zealand.

It was his sporty workmates who challenged him to first enter a 10km run four months ago.

“And being the belligerent [guy] that I am I said ‘Go on then’, like, I’ll show them.

“I’m not one for fun exercise as it were, and I’m no stranger to the phrase ‘Would you like fries with that’. So I thought I’d just do it and see what happens.”

Booth entered two 10km runs, both times partying-up the night before.

He surprised himself with his times – both second over the one hour mark.

“Then the [Jack’s Point] triathlon came up and I thought, I’ve shown that I can run 10km and I can ride a bike – put me in the water and I’ll be alright I suppose.”

He finished the 500m swim, 20km bike and 5km off-road run in a touch over two hours.

“I had the attitude of doing absolutely no training in the similar way to like if you do an exam without any revision – it’s good to know whether you’re good or bad as a starting point.

“Unfortunately I haven’t done much training for Lake Hayes since then.”

The Lake Hayes event – a 750m swim or 4km kayak, 20km bike and 5km off-road run – is New Zealand’s oldest surviving triathlon, attracting hundreds of athletes of all abilities.

While Booth says he’s “not lazy” – he bikes to work everyday – he admits if it weren’t for his colleagues, he would never have started exercising.

“Doing a triathlon on your own is bloody murder but if you’re doing it with 20 or 30 other idiots who have nothing better to do on a Saturday, it’s a nice bit of camaraderie,” he laughs.

“Everyone at Active is really supportive, and you need that.”