Temuka man sets sights on t’ai chi record

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by Chris Tobin

A lucky few make the Guinness World Records and Temuka man Dave Thew might soon join them.

Mr Thew is planning an attempt to break the world record for a t’ai chi marathon.

The present record is held by an Englishwoman at 29 hours.

Mr Thew wants to go three hours longer.

“I’m under no illusion that it will be a walk in the park,” he said this week at the Margaret Wilson Home in Seddon St, Timaru, where he works as a gardener.

“But I think I’m on the right track and from now on I’ll ‘amp’ it up a bit. I want to feel confident I can give the record a good crack.”

He has been undergoing a steady preparation over recent weeks.

“I’m under no illusion that it will be a walk in the park.”
– Dave Thew

“Every day I’m doing two hours and at the weekend I do eight to nine-hour stints.

“I’ve done a couple overnight without sleep as well. It’s a test on the mind to be in the driveway in the dark at three o’clock in the morning.”

Mr Thew is well experienced in t’ai chi.

“In my teens I did judo but broke my kneecap.

“I heard of t’ai chi from a Chinese master in Christchurch and started learning. I became his first student to go out and teach.”

In the past 10 years he has competed in events and achieved great success winning national, Oceania and world championships.

During his record attempt he will be allowed five minutes off every hour. Breaks can also be cumulative so he could decide on a 10-minute break every two hours.

It would be vastly different to what he was accustomed to.

“When you’re competing, you’re on the floor for five minutes doing your routine. This is a different ballgame.”

He said he received some helpful assistance in his training.

“There’s a master in Shanghai who heard of my record attempt. He teaches a method called ‘water t’ai chi’.

“I’ve been communicating with him through one of his students. I’ve found it invaluable.”

Mr Thew’s record attempt will be made at the Alpine Sports Centre in Temuka on April 26 and 27.

He is also using the attempt as a way to raise money for the South Canterbury Cancer Society.