MOST athletes tend to wind down after passing their mid-30s but there are those who refuse to be boxed in by the norm.
Part of this motivated group includes a trio of Warrnambool-trained fighters who will compete in boxing events at the 14th Australian Masters Games tomorrow.
Simpson’s Rob Wallace, 38, defending Masters champion Phillipa “Pip” Hannagan, 42, from Laang, and Warrnambool athlete Glen Scriven, each train under Rodney Ryan at Rudy’s Boxing on Kelp Street and are bound for the national competition in Geelong.
Scriven, 43, has a football background after playing with Port Fairy and Russells Creek, but his 1998 retirement led to a few inactive years outside the sports world.
Deciding to get fit again, he began running and worked his way up through fun runs before tackling the challenge of marathon racing.
Despite many years of football and competing in the Melbourne Marathon, the plumber insists boxing for the past year has made him fitter than ever.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been as fit as I am now, even when I played footy,” Scriven said.
“I feel a lot stronger and fitter than before.
“It’s a different fitness and a different sport — you have to be leaner and quicker compared to footy.
“I started boxing because this time last year I was doing marathons and just wanted to get a bit more core strength so I wasn’t as tired at the end.
“I got sort of hooked on it.
“I really enjoy it.
“The more you do it the more comfortable you are with it.”
The boxers will weigh-in tomorrow morning and divide into categories of experience, weight and age, progressing through a knockout competition during the day.
Scriven expects to end up in the under 69 kilogram class for men aged between 35 and 44.
“It’s my first boxing competition so I don’t really know what to expect.
“My style of fighting is ‘don’t get hit’.
‘‘I don’t think I’ll be too bad.
“I imagine it will be pretty full on for the first round but as it goes on you start to get more comfortable. You don’t know what to expect from someone you’ve never fought or sparred with before.
“Rodney has done a terrific job and made sure we understand what we’re going to do.
“Up until three months ago I was training four times a week, but I’ve been going in twice a day from Monday to Friday for the past couple months to get ring-hardened.”
Trainer Ryan said the trio of boxers had benefited from sparring with younger fighters as well as those from other gyms.
“Rob and Scriv are both having their first fight so it’s a bit hard to ascertain their opposition.
“I think the journey isn’t really about winning — getting there is the hard part and once you’re there anything can happen. Pip is defending two titles so hopefully she’ll be able to do that.”
The boxers are just three of about 30 south-west competitors heading to the Masters this weekend, 15 of them from Warrnambool, as 8000 participants from around the country descend on Geelong for the Games.
Victoria’s Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty officially opened the Games last night.
“There is no other competition in Australia where you will find people of all abilities over the age of 30, playing in so many sports in such a spirit of friendship, and camaraderie,” Mr Delahunty said yesterday.
“It provides the perfect inspiration for the over-30’s to make positive lifestyle changes.”