At 71 years old, Dick Telford tells me that he ‘only’ runs twice a day. Whippet-thin and fluid in his movements, Telford’s sport career started playing AFL for Collingwood and Fitzroy. When he switched to running, he realised he was pretty good at it. He’s run a marathon in 2 hours 27 minutes, and helped train Rob de Castella, Lisa Ondieki, Martin Dent and Carolyn Schuwalow through the Australian Institute of Sport.
There are few better cities for runners than Canberra. Loping around Lake Burley-Griffin, you might see the sun rise, and watch the kayakers spreading ripples across the smooth surface. On the dirt trails of Mount Ainslie, you’ll dodge kangaroos and test your muscles against the hills. Local ovals are perfect for beginners just starting jogging, or sprinters keen to feel the wind in their ears.
With three young boys and an unpredictable job, I find there’s nothing better than running to clear the cobwebs and keep the mind in perspective. It’s also a great way to get to know the active and unpretentious running community. For an energetic start to the weekend, try the Saturday morning 5 kilometre Parkrun events organised every weekend at Gungahlin, Belconnen and Tuggeranong. If you want a bit more of a challenge, sign up for the YMCA’s Half Marathon on 22 May. Most of us won’t run as far or fast as Dick Telford. But with a runners’ paradise on our doorstep, why not take the chance to check it out?
Andrew Leigh is the shadow assistant treasurer and Member for Fraser.
This piece was originally published in The Chronicle.