Derek Turnbull




800m to Marathon - Masters



Derek Turnbull was a down to earth Southland sheep farmer who became a world legend of masters running. From 1977 to 1997, he rewrote the book, with 25 world records across five age-groups. At the biennial World Masters Athletics (WMA) Championships, he won 28 titles in all, often in world records, from 800m up, and on three occasions won six gold medals at the same Games, including cross-country and marathon, extraordinary in range and recovery.

In 1992, Turnbull broke the world 60-64 records at every distance from 800m to marathon. Five of his 65-69 world records (one mile to marathon) still stand, three decades later. One of those is his 2:41:57 marathon at age 66, which was a media highlight of that year’s London Marathon, and is featured in the documentary film, The Fastest Old Man in the World (available on You Tube). Turnbull himself considered his greatest race to be his 2:38:47 marathon in Adelaide in 1987, when he was the first over-60 to break ...