Champion runs ahead of the pack at 76
VICTORIA Point resident Pio Bunin, 76, hit the ground running after retirement and never looked back to win three ‘gold’ medals at the Oceania Masters game in Dunedin New Zealand recently.
The focused runner also brought home four silver medals and one bronze from the January 20 to 27 competition.
He fondly recalled his memory when the Australian National anthem played and the flag raised up while standing first place on the podium as the “proudest memory of his life.”
His advice to seniors is “never give up on your dream.”
“I want to tell seniors, if I can do it they can do it too, there is no age restriction to realising your dreams,” he said.
“I never thought I would come this far and achieve so much in my senior years.”
Pio launched his running career at 70 after retirement and trained beside his house where he also set up a hurdle track.
Now, he competes in medley relays, long jump and sprints against International former Olympians.
He is not yet done breaking world records for his age category, heading off to Malaga Spain to compete in the World Master Athletics Championships (September 5 to 9) this year to do it all again.
“I feel good, I don’t want to give up yet, It’s my favourite sport,” he said.
“It’s important to show people my age they can achieve something and always follow your dreams.”
Not only does he run well solo but also in a team, and excels at long jump too. He reflects fondly on the mixed medley relay where he won silver and he was the oldest member to compete with the group total making up 200-years-old.
“The biggest worry was to make a mistake and let down your team and there is more pressure [than single sprints],” he said.
Pio competed in the Perth World Masters Athletics Championships (26 October - 6 November 2016), where his team came first and broke the long standing Australian record for the 100m and the 400m relays.
Pio loves the camaraderie which comes along with competition sharing his victories with representatives from Chile, China, India, Czechoslovakia,
New Zealand, Canada and other Australians.
“There is so much enjoyment surrounding the events,” he said.
“It’s like a family, we all shake hands and say good luck.” It’s not all about sport with the family man investing his time with his wife, three children and 11 grandchildren who ensures he keeps life balance front of mind.
When he’s not breaking records he plays the ball sport Bocce in his down time.
“Retiring is not boring at all it’s a good life,” he said.