Raglan lad Lenny Reynolds was anxious when it came to running the Huntly half marathon recently — and understandably so. Competing in the under-20s, the 11-year-old feared he was going to do badly and get left behind.
He needn’t have worried. “Once I got going the atmosphere took me away,” he says.
And it wasn’t long before Lenny was overtaking some of his much older competitors, going on to finish the 21.1-kilometre race in just 1hr 44mins 35secs — a respectable time for an adult let alone a lad not yet in his teens. The performance put Lenny 7th in an under-20s field of 14, and about 200th overall in the 900-strong field.
“I think I was the youngest person there (competing),” he proudly told the Chronicle last week, explaining how his performance really built up his self-esteem.
Lenny’s great showing in the Huntly half marathon wasn’t achieved without some hard work, though. The Raglan Area School pupil’s been doing lots of training around town and beyond: one circuit takes him from his home on Cliff Street to Upper Wainui Road and back — a total of 16 kilometres.
Then there’s his hill circuits. He might start with a run around the three bridges then tackle Stewart, Long and Bow Streets — running up and down each of them10 times over!
Why? Because hills are really good for fitness, of course.
Lenny started running about a year ago because his family was doing “lots of fitness stuff”, he explains. Dad, Mark, does heaps of biking apparently while Mum, Tish, multitasks — she walks, bikes and does both yoga and waka ama.
But his 14-year-old sister Frankie’s not into fitness at all, says Lenny, who admits good-naturedly he’d hoped — but failed — to shame her into doing something about it.
Lenny’s runs have become longer and longer and now take an hour or two most days after school. “I was feeling like I could extend myself so did further distances and then decided why not enter a competition.”
That’s when he hit upon Huntly’s annual half marathon. “I guess I just felt I could achieve it and it’d be cool … I was kind of building up to it.”
Tish is amazed at her son’s willpower and determination, and impressed by his effort in the half marathon.
Lenny confesses to having a “weird diet” too which is all part of the health kick, with no refined sugars and nothing processed or fatty like chips or lollies.
Frankie loves Lenny’s diet, adds Tish, “because she’s totally opposite”, and scores all her brother’s Easter eggs into the bargain.