Southland runner wins gold medal in national event again

Debbie Telfer's passion for running is what pushes her to compete.

The 60-year-old Southland woman said no expensive equipment was needed to do running as a sport, and no matter the weather she was outdoors going for it. Telfer has been running since she was in her 20s and has since broken several records and taken out first place in the New Zealand Road Running Championships twice. She won first place in the women’s 60 to 64 age bracket in Cambridge on Sunday, after winning the 55 to 59 age bracket in Christchurch last year.

"I am pleased, especially because it absolutely poured with rain and there were three hills - it wasn't flat. I was happy with the time and placing," she said. The run was more than five kilometres around the St Peter's College grounds and Telfer finished with a time of 21.55 minutes - exactly the same as her gold medal winning effort last year. 

This year she was the only runner from Southland, but it was her fourth time competing in the annual event overall. "I still love competing and the competition. To compete well you have to put the training in and I still like that side of it." Telfer recalls a time when injuries nearly put her off, but she was persistent to keep going, she said. "Anybody can do it. I certainly started off as a slow jogger but the more you do, the more you get out of it. "It's such an easy sport to do. You just need shoes."

Telfer ran in events all year round. "That's the beauty of it - you can do it even in the middle of an Invercargill winter," she said.