Record broken at 60th event

Taking off . . . Wayne Doyle shows off his pole vault prowess at a past decathlon competition.

After pushing his body to the limit for the 60th time, South Canterbury decathlete Wayne Doyle has broken another New Zealand athletics record.

Competing at the New Zealand Combined Events Championship in Dunedin earlier this month, Mr Doyle

— in his 60th decathlon — broke the New Zealand points record for his Masters 60-65 age group, amassing more than 6000 points on his way to a first-place finish.

Heading into the competition he said he was quietly confident he would break the record.

‘‘There is certainly a lot of satisfaction in knowing you are still able to make your body achieve those results.

‘‘It’s almost a mind game. You can be as fit as everyone else but how hard do you want to win [matters]. Mentally, you need to be just as strong to push your body to the max. Luckily I am able to do that and beyond, if it means breaking a record or winning a medal.

‘‘It can be a bit dangerous with that mentality, especially if you’re willing to put everything on the line — but if you get a medal or break a record it’s yours and no-one can take that away from you.’’

A decathlon is a combined athletics event which involves athletes competing across 10 different track and field events over two consecutive days, and their performance is judged on a points system in each event.

Mr Doyle said he had been fortunate to have had such a long and successful career.

‘‘I’ve been doing decathlons since I was about 16 years old. Over that time I’ve been lucky enough to compete at a few national events, won a few titles and [broke] a few records and I’m still doing it.

‘‘To clock up 60 decathlons is quite an achievement. There wouldn’t be too many in the world that have actually done that many. Often I’d be doing three competitions a year.

‘‘I still love it and still get a kick out of pushing my body to its maximum, its absolute limit.’’

Winning ways . . . Wayne Doyle (front right) celebrates his latest decathlon victory and newest New Zealand record. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Mr Doyle holds four different decathlon records in New Zealand going back to when he was 40 and also won the New Zealand title for pole vault when he was 18.

One of his biggest highlights was winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Masters Athletic Championships in Perth, Australia.

He said the thrill of the competition had kept him going after all this time. ‘‘I just constantly want to see what my body is capable of doing,’’ he said. ‘‘In any given year or every year of my life I know exactly how fast my body can run or how high it can jump and how far it can throw something because I’ve kept a record of all the different results over the decade.’’

It was unfortunate to see the numbers begin to decline as he matured, he said.

‘‘Those times and distances are slowly getting less which is just a fact of life.’’

Mr Doyle put a lot of his success down to the coaching he received from Ian Baird, the original coach of Olympic shotputter Tom Walsh.

‘‘He took a group of us and started training us. He took the best runners, the best jumpers and the best throwers and made us all work together and develop us into decathletes.

‘‘From that group there is only one crazy guy . . .still going.’’

He said he was not too sure how much longer he could continue to compete.

‘‘My time is very limited now. I’ve absolutely destroyed my shoulder from too much javelin throwing. That’s the thing that is probably going to stop my career, just the constant pain I have in my shoulder.

‘‘I’ll go as long as I can but I am aware my days are limited and maybe it is time to bow out after smashing another New Zealand record for my age group.’’

Fellow South Canterbury athlete Charlotte Blake also competed in Dunedin, finishing third in the under-18 heptathlon.