At 92, Norm’s a hard man to keep up with
NORM Phillips was 63 when he took up running.
His wife thought he was mad.
Almost 30 years later he's still running.
Now his wife thinks he's "inspirational".
And it's hard to argue.
At 92 years of age, Mr Phillips still does "short" runs up to 3km around Yandina several times a week.
"I've got the running bug," he admits.
Tomorrow, he will complete his 100th parkrun at Brightwater, where fellow runners in the 5km timed social event will form a guard of honour at the finish line.
It's an amazing feat for a man who had absolutely no experience with running before he became inspired by a charity run in England.
"In fact, I was a very fragile child," he revealed.
"I nearly died from pneumonia as a baby and then I had eczema for a long time.
"I went to a special school for people considered to be fragile."
In later years he rode his bike to work in London but it wasn't until 1986 that the running bug bit.
"Where we used to live in England, the local firemen used to organise a 10-mile (16km) firemen's run every year for charity.
"I watched it one year and said 'I'll have a go at that next year'.
"So I started running and joined the local athletics club."
He completed the run, of course, so set his sights slightly higher.
The following year - at the age of 63 - he completed in the London Marathon in a respectable 4.5 hours.
"My wife thought I was mad," he said.
"I think everyone did, to be honest.
"But I'd caught the running bug and couldn't stop.
"I did a hell of a lot of training. I was running almost every evening."
The couple moved to Australia since then and Mr Phillips has completed more events than he can remember.
He finished two City To Surfs - by then aged in his early 80s - and joined the parkrun movement a couple of years ago.
He says his reason for running is simple.
"I just love it," he said.
"When I'm out there, I forget everything else.
"I just enjoy the scenery and forget all my troubles, not that I've got too many.
"These days I only go for a run when I feel like it.
"It's usually no more than twice a week and only short runs of 2km or 3km."
His wife Jay admits she took a while to be convinced about her husband's love of running.
"At first I thought he was mad," she said.
"But not now.
"He's achieved so much and I'm very proud of him."
But running isn't her cup of tea.
"It just seems like so much hard work," she said.
"When you see people running they seem like they're in pain. All that huffing and blowing."
Mr Phillips did inspire his son David to take up running but shrugs off the "inspirational" tag.
"That's what everyone says, that I inspire them but I think I inspire myself mostly.
"I think I'll carry on until I drop."
The Brightwater parkrun is held at 7am every Saturday, at the Brightwater Sportsground.