John’s 62...and still clocking up the miles
RUNNING: Rockhampton's John Camilleri doesn't think he's anything special - but plenty of people would.
At the age of 62, he competes in half-marathons, something he has done regularly since taking up running more than a decade ago.
His most recent event was Sunday's Yeppoon Running Festival, where he finished 58th in a field of 125 runners.
Camilleri did the 21.1km in a very respectable 1:59:56 but admits he was a "bit disappointed" with his time.
"I would have liked to do less than 1.50. I went 1.59, that was the slowest I ever went, but I suppose I'm 62 now," he said.
"I do it for enjoyment more than anything and I try not to get too serious about it but when you do it you like to do your best."
A former jockey, Camilleri started running as a form of therapy after he suffered a serious injury when he was about 50.
He was riding a barrier trial in Rockhampton when he was thrown from a horse and knocked unconscious.
He suffered bleeding on the brain and spent almost a month in hospital.
Doctors told him to stop riding and as a result he found a new passion.
"The accident left me a bit numb down one side, nothing too bad, but I started running to help improve myself," Camilleri said.
"I started it for something to do and it became a habit, I suppose.
"I did a couple of 10km races and then I started the half-marathons to give myself a bit more of a challenge.
"I've probably averaged about two half-marathons for the last nearly 10 years."
Camilleri believes running is beneficial for his physical health and his mental wellbeing.
"It's a great way to stay healthy. I don't take any medication.
"It's really good for your mental state as well; it's quite a psychological challenge to start one (half-marathon) and actually finish it.
"It gives you something to strive for and it makes you feel like you've achieved something."
Camilleri only races locally and has previously competed in the Rocky River Run and the Yeppoon Running Festival.
He has also taken part in Challenge the Mountain, earning podium places in his age group several times.
"I like to run every day; some days I might do an hour, some days I do up to two hours," he said.
"You don't feel the same every day; some days you want to do it and some days you don't.
"Starting is the hardest part. Once you start it's not too bad and once you get going you're right and you can feel pleased with yourself when you do it."
Camilleri has no intention of slowing down, instead he has plans to up the ante.
"I would like to try a marathon before I get too much older, that would be something different again," he said.
"I don't think I'm anything special for doing what I'm doing.
"It's keeping me fit and healthy and it's something to do, it's an outlet for me."