ANYONE who can run 10km without pulling to catch their breath amid a cacophony of wheezing and coughing can boast of being a relatively fit specimen - when you are nearly 72, it makes you a minor miracle.
John Trollor has already achieved plenty in his life.
A doctor by profession, Trollor has made a name for himself during a 60-year hockey career that has seen him represent his nation at masters and veterans level.
To this day he continues to play the sport he loves.
In recent years he has added distance running to his repertoire, completing three Edgell Jogs, and this Sunday he will attempt to add the 10km division of the Bathurst Half-Marathon to his resume.
“I’m relatively new to running - prior to the Edgell Jogs I never did much running at all but I do it now as a way of keeping fit for hockey, and for life,” he said. “I think it has helped, I’ve trimmed down, I’m running better and that’s all I can do I suppose - just try and improve.”
Trollor describes himself as “reasonably fast for someone who is almost 72” but speed will not be the main concern on Sunday.
With no age-specific division to enter, Trollor’s race will most likely be against himself - though he does have a slightly longer term goal which his race will impact on.
“I have started to think about the World Masters Games in Sydney in October, though I had a look and the times that blokes my age are running are around 21 minutes. I take 31 to run that far,” he said.
“So that is a huge struggle - these bionic blokes at 70 are just amazingly fit.”
His goal for Sunday is simply to finish, a result which would break new ground as he has never run 10km before.
For the time being he is sure of where his standing is within the field.
“I’m not sure if there is an age group for me, and presumably I’m the oldest in the field,” he said.
So how does a 71-year-old national hockey representative pass the time in his mind while he takes on these long runs?
“Believe it or not I’ve got an iPod, and it is full of songs that I love - mostly hymns,” he said.
“When I pound down the hills out near where I live at Perthville I listen to my favourite hymn which is ‘Jerusalem’ and I look at the landscape and think to myself ‘what a privilege it is to be able to do this.’”
“And I also think about how agonising it is but I try hard not to. I’m not very fast but I’m always very pleased to get to the end.”
The older Trollor will be joined by his son Adrian on Sunday who will travel from Sydney to compete in the 10km event, giving John some extra motivation.
“I guess after all those years of having him follow in my footsteps I will be following in his for a change - I think he will be a long way ahead of me,” John Trollor said.