Paul Lundon is 63 years old and has competed in every running of the New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui since its inception in 1989. As he prepares to compete in his 15th games, he’s taking the time to reflect on his almost 30 years of competition.
What attracted you to want to compete in the inaugural New Zealand Masters Games 27 years ago?
It was new to Whanganui, it was the first time and it was an opportunity to do some other racing and just compete with people your own age.
You initially competed in triathlon but now focus solely on cycling – why the switch?
I dropped the triathlon just because I preferred the cycling and I decided to focus on that. I made the change a while ago, it was back in the 90’s when I was still doing the triathlon.
What has kept you coming back to the event – especially after you relocated to Wellington from Whanganui?
It always feels like going home, I lived there [Whanganui] for quite a while, over 20-odd years and my kids grew up there so I just kept going back. It’s just about being able to compete in that environment. It’s always good to go back into the games with the atmosphere and the ethos they have. It’s a good environment to compete in.
Did the fact that you have not missed an event in close to 30 years sneak up on you?
It wasn’t something I focused on. It was like ‘oh, the games are on’ so I just kept going back. The Whanganui games in February aren’t the only competition I do throughout the season so it’s not always on my mind. It wasn’t until recently that I actually thought I must have done every single one.
How has the event changed over the years?
These days I don’t see too many of the people who were around racing 20 years ago.
Once you get up into the higher age groups you don’t tend to see too many new faces, it’s really just the older ones who have been around for a while.
Any memorable moments from the Games over the years?
Back in the earlier days, they used to have a three day tour which started in Hamilton and we used to race down to Whanganui and finish there on the first day of the Masters Games. That was probably one of the enjoyable things. You take a van-load of guys away and then race. It was great. They don’t always have that one now because there’s quite a lot of work involved to organise something like that. And of course, it’s always memorable when you win medals.