Shirley takes a tri’

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Shirley Melville is not one to sit around waiting for things to happen. She and her husband realised their retirement dream of moving to Nelson last year, and she’s joined clubs and activities to ensure there are plenty of new friends, along with her daughter and family in Wakefield that were part of the attraction for the move north from Oamaru. 

Right now she’s in training for the Taylors’ Nelson Women’s Triathlon, and as well as getting fitter and shedding a few kilos, she’s creating memories for her grand-daughters, Alannah (20), Chloe (15) and Corren (14).

“Going out for a Sunday bike ride with them is keeping me motivated,” she says, “and they can look back on this and say ‘Granny did it with us’.” 

Fitness training is nothing new for Shirley. She worked her way back to health from a stroke in 2000, entered duathlons with Alannah in 2006 and 2009 and in 2008 went public in a Biggest Loser campaign run by the Oamaru Mail. 

Since moving to Nelson she has put on a few kilos, and though she’s not back to her pre-Biggest Loser weight she is determined to trim down a bit: “As well as the increased biking and walking I’m just buying biscuits less often and not snacking on chippies and things in the evenings.” 

At 67 Shirley would like to join the gym, but even with her ‘green card’ it’s an added cost to her pensioner’s budget.  But walking is free and there’s another motivator - her wee cavalier spaniel, Lilly.

“We’re lucky with our new home in Stoke which is right beside a walking track that leads to the cycle trail, so it’s easy to get out and go for a walk,” Shirley says.

Shirley insists there’s nothing special about her and her path to fitness: “Anyone can do it – you just have to set your mind to it, no matter what age you are.”

  • Shirley takes a tri’