Sport

World champ to race in Coffs

NO STOPPING HIM: Having secured a world triathlon championship at age 80, Keith Pearce will be returning to Coffs Harbour in a fortnight for the bcu Coffs Tri.
NO STOPPING HIM: Having secured a world triathlon championship at age 80, Keith Pearce will be returning to Coffs Harbour in a fortnight for the bcu Coffs Tri. Nashys Pix

THE bcu Coffs Tri is attracting athletes from as young as six right through to 80-year-old world champion Keith Pearce.

Australia's inspirational Pearce has raced in triathlons all over the world and says the bcu Coffs Tri is one of the best events in which he has competed.

He's looking forward to racing here again in a few weeks time.

Pearce took out the ITU World Triathlon Championship in Cozumel, Mexico, last year to be the fastest 80-year-old in the world over both the standard distance (1500m swim; 40km bike and 10km run) and aquathlon (2.5km run; 1.5km swim; 2.5km run), with silver in the sprint distance (750m swim; 20km bike; 5km run).

He raced alongside his twin brother Frank, who also came home with swag of medals from the event.

The brothers have no plans of slowing down.

"The ITU Championships are on in 2018 on the Gold Coast and we're aiming for that," Keith said.

Keith has competed in the bcu Coffs Tri in 2013, 2015 and 2016, winning his age category each year.

"I keep doing triathlons because I can and may take up tennis when I'm a bit older," he said after last year's event.

The former champion distance runner grew up in Africa before moving to New Zealand and finally settling in Forster on the NSW mid north coast. He took up triathlons at the tender age of 53.

"If I can keep doing what I do without getting injured, I'll do it. It's what I've always done. It's not so much training as exercising to keep healthy. I just can't wait to get up in the morning and get out and exercise and get that fresh air in my lungs."

The road for Keith has not always been paved with gold. He lost his mother when he was just seven months old and has recently battled cancer, losing three quarters of his stomach to the disease. But that hasn't stopped this remarkable athlete achieve phenomenal success in his sport.

He has collected enough trophies to fill most people's lounge rooms and has been recognised with numerous sporting awards over the years. He is also a life member of Forster Triathlon Club.

Former Forster Triathlon Club president Murray Verran praised Keith's achievements.

"As well as being a life member and a name on the club's hall of fame, Keith is an inspiration and a valuable mentor for triathletes," he said.

"He is a recognised figure around the triathlon circuit, nationally and internationally."

Maybe Keith's story is all the encouragement you need to get out and be part of the bcu Coffs Tri on March 4-5. There are events for ages six and over with age no barrier. Enter now at villagesports.com.au.

Topics:  bcu coffs tri coffs harbour coffs tri triathlon