Ashley Te Whare was pretending to check his phone for messages when he decided something had to change.
He was surrounded by people in Auckland’s Queen St and was actually standing still because he was struggling to catch his breath.
“That was the turning point really,” Te Whare says.
“I was way overweight [148 kilograms]. I had no training and I just thought it’s got to start somewhere.”
Eight years later the Milford resident is 60kg lighter and has completed six Ironman events around the country as well as several triathlons and marathons.
Te Whare says during his first triathlon he was exhausted after swimming 100 metres and took five minutes to transition to the cycling leg of the journey.
“I was one of the last out of the water and I look back on these times and have a really good laugh,” he says.
The 37-year-old says he’s learned a lot about himself and about resilience and has had a strong support network in family, friends and coaches.
“They got me to a point where I could get to the start line and make the finish.”
He is healthier and more energetic and more willing to take on physical challenges.
Te Whare says “an epiphany from adversity” sparked his decision to change his lifestyle and it affects all aspects of his life.
He hopes others will be encouraged to make changes to ensure they are there for their grandchildren.
“I try to use these tools that I’ve learned in health and well-being and let that be reflected across everything that I do,” he says.
“Looking at the Maori and Pacific Island community the longevity of our people is based on health and well-being.”
Te Whare will be running a half marathon on April 30 and will continue to compete in triathlons and group fitness.
He says he always trains towards an event as a goal and says he needs something to work towards.
“Little by little we can achieve great things I believe.”
IronMaori was held for the first time in Auckland earlier this month after running in Napier for seven years.
By ZIZI SPARKS
PS: If you are interested in training for and participating in IronMaori join my FREE online seminar (webinar) on Wednesday 15 June 2016.
Click here to register for the event.