Melody King-Turner and her daughter Layla, aged three, at the Saxton Field athletics track last week. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Master Games encourages comeback

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Melody King-Turner can’t wait to get back on track when she lines up for the sprints in the South Island Masters Games at Saxton Field on Saturday.

Melody will be joining around 2300 athletes aged 30 to 89 who will be competing in over 40 sports at venues around Nelson and Tasman, starting on Wednesday.

And like many of the Masters Games’ mums, Melody will be making her sporting comeback after spending the last 12 years raising children, five in her case.

“I started sprinting when I was 13 at Marlborough Girls College and then got back into it when we moved to Nelson,” Melody says. “I ran the 100, 200 and 400 for Athletics Nelson before I had children.

“This my first time back. I haven’t raced since I was 26 and I can’t wait – I get a real kick out of it.”

Although Melody says she has been keeping reasonably fit over the last year or so, she knew she needed to get back on track if she was going to enter the Master Games.

So, she headed down to the Saxton Field and joined in the Thursday night training sessions with the next generation of runners.

“It’s for young people but I jumped in on that. There’s one other mum from Motueka who is also doing the sprints at the Masters Games and we’re really enjoying it.”

Melody says her children, aged three through to 11, are all supportive of her goal to race at the games and it has even inspired her nine-year-old daughter Chloe to start training as well.

“She’s a good cross-country runner and now that she’s seen me training she wants to have a go at athletics, too,” Melody says.

Melody will be competing in the 60m and 100m, and “possibly the 200m”, at the track and field session at Saxton Field on Saturday.

Sport Tasman’s event manager Rita Merriman says Saxton Field will be the hub of the games with 13 sports and around 1000 competitors based at the complex.

The games start on Wednesday and continue through to Sunday, with most of the team sports being played at the weekend.

Rita says the number of athletes and sports are similar to the last South Island Masters Games held in Nelson in 2015 when they spent an estimated $2.8million in the region.

She says a dedicated team of 250 volunteers will help to run the games.