At 80, still giving them a run for their money
EARLY morning exercisers in Toowoomba might notice a small group of dedicated fitness conscious people puffing their way through the early morning light.
The group sets out most mornings at 5 o'clock from their base near the Mort Estate Hotel in Bridge St for the run across the city often reaching Nelson St in Middle Ridge before heading home in the 90 minute run.
What a lot don't realise is that among that small group is 80-year-old Colin McLeod.
"I don't need daylight saving," he quipped, "I've got it."
"We leave in the dark and get to see the sun come up."
An avid runner, Mr McLeod is an inspiration for those who think they're "over the hill".
"I started running when I was 46 when I started to put on a bit of weight and I wanted to keep in that 'well zone'," he said.
"You really are only as old as you feel, it's just in the mind."
Mr McLeod urges everyone to exercise daily to keep up a level of good health.
"Just start off easy, walking and maybe doing some jogging and then increase it as you feel comfortable," he said.
Mr McLeod has taken his exercise to the next level and regularly competes in Queensland Masters Athletics.
In January, he set a new Australian record for the 5000m for the 81 to 84 year category at QEII stadium in Brisbane.
He set a new Queensland record for the one mile on February 2 and two hours later ran under 14 minutes in the 3000m to set another state record.
On Friday night he set a new Australian record for the 10,000m of 47:13 minutes.
"I turned 80 in January so I just make it into the 80 to 84 age group," he smiled.
Having lived all his life in Toowoomba apart from 25 years in the airforce, Mr McLeod knows the city well and through his early morning runs he also knows the streets well - and the footpaths.
And, he has a message for Toowoomba Regional Council.
"The footpaths are uneven and I've fallen three times in recent times so we tend to run on the road a bit.
"There are also too many cars parked on the footpaths.
"One bloke said to me 'why don't you run on the footpath' and I said 'because there are so many cars on the footpath."
After tripping over a raised section of footpath on Bridge St he contacted council which responded by placing bitumen over the raised concrete section.
"But that's worn away again," he said.
"It's just enough to catch your toe, you're not ready for it.
"I fell pretty heavily that morning."