COLIN Silcock-Delaney thinks they might be some of the best-looking medals he’s ever received – and he’s got a fair collection.
The Port Campbell resident returned from the Australian Masters Athletics Championships in Darwin last month with a haul of seven medals in tow – five gold, one silver and one bronze.
A bold crocodile seemingly looms out of the medallions, which are hung on brightly-coloured ribbons.
As spectacular as the medallions look, they don’t come close to how impressive the feats were for which Silcock-Delaney earned them.
The 84-year-old had a podium finish in every event he competed in in the 80-85 year-old category at the national championships.
He won gold in the 1500m track walk, the 5km track walk, the 10km road walk, the 2km steeplechase and the 800m track run. His silver was in the 1500m track run and the bronze in the 5km track run.
Now, he is eyeing off an appearance in the Oceania Masters Track and Field Championships in New Zealand in January.
“I was going to retire and I just thought, ‘I love the sport’,” Silcock-Delaney said.
“Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I just love sports.
“I’ve done 10 world masters athletics track and field championships. You’re competing against ex-Olympians and ex-Commonwealth Games athletes there. You get the likes of Steve Moneghetti competing.”
Silcock-Delaney has also travelled around Australia’s capital cities competing in masters’ events. He picked up five medals at this year’s Victorian championships before his seven-medal effort at the national titles.
All thoughts of retirement have well and truly been put on the backburner, with the evergreen athlete also planning on a return to the world stage after the Oceania event early next year.
“I’ve just renewed my passport and I think I’d like to go to the next World Masters in Spain in 2018,” Silcock-Delaney said.
“I go into the new age group of 85-90 at the end of this year, so that’s a new challenge.
“I know it’s silly (to keep travelling to compete in sports) – I said I wouldn’t go overseas again. But I love to travel and I love meeting new people.”
Silcock-Delaney’s athletics career has spanned six decades and counting. As well as being an active competitor, he has put in the hard yards off the track.
He’s officiated at Geelong and Melbourne junior and senior athletics events, and is on the Melbourne Marathon committee.
He competed in 25 of Victoria’s premier 42.2km race, which celebrates its 40th running this year, and also ran in the New York Marathon in 1983 when he was in the country for the World Masters Athletics Championships, and qualified for the Boston Marathon in 1990.
Silcock-Delaney first took up running when he enlisted in the National Service.
“I was lucky I didn’t have to serve overseas,” he said. “I was too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam.”
He became involved with various athletics and walking clubs, and continued his running when he was with the fire brigade.
“I joined the fire brigade as a young man and took on running … it was a good amateur sport,” Silcock-Delaney said. “I was involved with so much, I don’t know how I had time for it all. We also have five kids.”
It was only recently that the multi-skilled athlete – he also played cricket, tennis and other sports – learned his late father, Con Delaney, had been a talented athlete in his own right in the 1930s and ’40s.
Silcock-Delaney did his primary schooling in Melbourne and his secondary schooling in Geelong, where he lived and raised his young family.
He started giving up his lunch hour to take athletics training for the students at St Joseph’s College in Geelong.
“I took the boys there for 30 years in my lunch time,” Silcock-Delaney said.
“I had one son and two grandchildren go through there.”
His efforts saw the school nominate him to carry the Sydney 2000 Olympic torch for a leg of its relay around Australia.
He carried it through his adopted home at Port Campbell, where he moved after his retirement, buying a block of land near the iconic 12 Apostles.
“As a young kid, when I was still in Geelong, they used to send me down here for holidays – to the Warrnambool, Nirranda, Nullawarre and Peterborough areas,” Silcock-Delaney said.
It was also a return to the home of his parents, who were both from the Warrnambool area.
Silcock-Delaney has competed in 10 Portland marathons, as well as Koroit half-marathons and a host of triathlons, before deciding to give the three-pronged sport away.
“Swimming was my weak link and the water is so cold down here,” he said.
Silcock-Delaney’s enthusiasm for helping out has also seen him volunteer at the Sydney Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. “I’ve put my name down to volunteer at the Commonwealth Games in 2018,” he said.