Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tony and Erin - Running Together

Many moons and months ago, Erin was extremely excited to announce to the whole wide world (and on Facebook!) that she had signed her dad up for the You Yangs' 30KM trail run on 20th July 2014. She was simply ecstatic, to say the least, as it was going to be her first run together with her dad.

We had the liberty of being introduced to Tony, Erin's dad, on the course that day. Both of them were looking strong, AND finished strong. They both looked like they could have tackled another 20km, had they been given a chance.

Her extended family at Surf Coast Trail Runners were there to share her excitement and I thought, why not have them share their story with everyone else here? How cool is it, to be running a race with your dad (or mum)? :)

Running up The Saddle at You Yangs 30KM Trail Run.
Photo credit: Aldonio / Trails+.

1. Tony, what was your reaction when Erin first mentioned to you that you were going to do a 30KM trail run?
(Tony) Erin first suggested to Helen (her mum) and I that we stay over one more day and travel back to New Plymouth on Monday, July 21st. When we asked why she said there was a trail run on and that she wanted to take part in it with me.

I became worried. When I asked what distance Erin suggested two – 30km and 50km. After a few days of thought, I opted for 30km. I am not that fit and 30km sounded a long way, especially as Erin is improving both in speed and fitness.

(Erin) He’s fitter than he's letting on... I’ve seen him complete marathons! How many marathons have you done, dad? I think the 30km was a good choice after such a busy week prior to the event. We really enjoyed it.

(Tony) I have completed 34 marathons: 21 Mountain to Surfs, 1 Auckland Marathon, 1 Christchurch Marathon, 5 Wellington Marathon, and 6 Rotorua Marathons.

The first was the NGC Mountain to Surf Marathon in 1993. You were nearly 6 years old then, Erin.
I finished in a time of 2 hrs 55 mins and 24 seconds.

Tony's personal best of  2:34:31 at
the Mountain to Surf 1999.
My fastest time was 2 hrs 34 mins and 31 secs, again in the Mountain to Surf in 1999.
My slowest is 3 hrs 16 mins 23 secs in 2013.

The last few years my pace has dropped a touch and now struggle to break 3 hrs.

This year I ran 3 hrs 5 mins and 42 secs for the local marathon, 11 mins quicker than last year. At 40 km mark I had to stop and take my right shoe off as one of my toe nails had blistered and the nail was starting to come off. I ran 2 kms barefoot before I could put my shoe on again. Came 1st in my age group.

That is something else we share, Erin. Runners toes.

(Erin) We do! Let me add that in…..

(Tony) I love the challenge of the marathon and I hope to carry on running them for some years to come.

Of special note, Helen has always tried to support me on my marathons. She has followed me on all 21 Mountain to Surfs - handing out drinks and encouraging me, and being there at the finish.

(Yvonne) I'm a bit speechless now ...

2. What did you both talk about during the run? Did you share any deep dark secrets that you've never shared with each other before?
(Tony) Of course, we talked about a lot of things BUT I have always lived by the rule that what gets said on the run stays on the run. If you want to know what got said then you will need to run with both Erin and I.

(Erin) Haha I agree with the what gets said on the run, stays on the run.

3. What did you enjoy most about the race?
I'd say free flow of chips, lollies and water, but that's just me!
(Tony) Lots of things - the terrain, the atmosphere of a running event, the friendly competitors and spectators - BUT, most important, taking part in a race with my No. 1 Daughter.

(Yvonne) SO SWEET!!!!!

(Erin) Running with Dad was the best part. We’ve run together before but this was our first actual event. The atmosphere and everyone involved from Volunteers to Spectators, event organisers and sponsors - everyone is so friendly and positive. It was awesome to show dad where I run most weekends and meet some of the wonderful people I run with, the Garmin activities, photos and names I mention made more sense now. The free flow of food was an added bonus - along with a good catch up with friends out on the course. I recall us being chased off from a certain aid station because we spent too much time eating and talking!

4. Besides running, what are your other hobbies?
(Tony) I get busy at work at times however I do enjoy reading, pottering around the house, and annoying my wife, Helen.

I am a cricket nut, although was never a good player.

(Erin) Me and Jono (My partner in crime) have a 2 year old who keeps us on our toes! I think most of my hobbies now include things like Dancing to the Wiggles, Painting, Drawing, Playing with Playdough, Reading stories and Trips to the Playground/Zoo etc.

I tried to play cricket once... and wasn’t very good at it. I can say I’ve probably helped with annoying mum over the years. ;-)

5. Are you planning on joining another event together anytime soon?
(Tony) That's a good question. Erin is planning an 80km event in November in Taranaki, which I will help with. I will put some training in and see how I feel closer to the day. I would like to travel to Aus again soon and run another race with Erin, really enjoyed the trail run.

(Erin) I hope so! It makes it a little tricky not living in the same country but I'm sure there will be more opportunities. I’ll be in NZ for a couple of months at the end of this year so that should give us plenty of time for more running adventures.

Erin at Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30
Superheroes vs Villains.
Photo credit: Benjamin Fox.
6. What similar traits do you both share?
(Tony) A competitive nature and a determination to do well, and never give in.

(Erin) I agree with the above - well said, dad. I think we also have a good sense of humour… We are hilarious! Do you think we are funny, dad? I do. Maybe we could even add in here that we are good at annoying mum? ha ha

(Tony) Well I may not be that funny but I certainly look funny. I do love having a joke when running with the Harriers, especially when there is mud OR water about.

(Erin) Let's not forget ‘Runners Toes’.

7. Erin, we know that you have big (running) plans for the rest of the year and years to come. Tell us what's next on the calendar for you.
(Erin) I do. My biggest running goal to date is the 50mile Solo Event in the Taranaki Around The Mountain Relay at the beginning of November this year. Training has been going well so far so fingers crossed, it remains that way. I’ll just be aiming to cross the finish line but it will be a real boost being in my hometown and having family and friends there to support me. Hoping that dad will bring along his running shoes and run some km’s with me for that one.

After that the Two Bays 56km Trail Run in January. I completed the 28km last year and said as soon as I crossed the finish line that I wanted to attempt the 56km next time.

Top left: Jono, Erin, Helen and Tony. Top right: Erin and her brothers.
Bottom left: Tony and Erin. Middle pic: Owen and his teddy bear.
Bottom right: Erin, Jono and Owen.

8. Say I was going to visit your hometown of New Plymouth or Taranaki, New Zealand. Where would you take me running?
(Tony) In Taranaki we have many running surfaces.
We have mountain tracks that vary in altitude - warm in summer and snow covered/ icy in winter.
If you are into cross country running there are dairy farms that I can take you on.
We have many parks and running tracks within New Plymouth and the Taranaki region.
We also have a coastal walkway as well as rural roads.

(Erin) New Plymouth is so beautiful. I think last time I ran with dad and his running group (Energy City Harriers) we ran everything from road, trail, beach and farmland and the coastal walkway all in one run! Climbing over fences, crawling under electric fences and avoiding cow poo on the farms!

Be careful running with dad though, you can be sure he’ll opt to take you up a hill rather than the flat (there isn’t a lot of flat in NZ, anyway) and he pushed me into a puddle at Parkrun on the weekend….just saying. ;-)

(Yvonne) Sounds like fun! I'll first have do more hill training - A LOT!

It was clearly a good day, that day. Erin bagged a podium finish of 2nd female in the 30KM category. And to think she only started running since the middle of May 2012!

Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of yourselves here, Tony and Erin. We look forward to seeing and/or running with you again! :)

Other running profiles:
Dion and Liberty Milne
Jon Lim
Caroline Bertrand
Gregor Hartnell
The Wild Wombat Boys - Tim and Isaac
Kirsten Maplestone
Chris Roberts
Matt Hosking


  1. 'My fastest time was 2 hrs 34 mins and 31 secs, again in the Mountain to Surf in 1999.
    My slowest is 3 hrs 16 mins 23 secs in 2013.'

    Even in my bestest of dreams I could never achieve this ! I'm in awe of Tony. Please tell him that for me :D

    1. Here's his reply for you, Nick:

      In every marathon I raced I tried to give it my best effort.
      In some cases this resulted in a quicker time, in other cases a slower time.
      I have found over all the years and distances I have raced that there will always be someone quicker than me.
      Everyone who competes should be equally proud of their own result particularly if they give it their best effort.

      I am certain that if :D was able to tell me about some of there races I would be equally in awe of them for what they have done.

      Erin's’ Dad

    2. Nick, he probably thinks we're hopeless lah haha! ;)