As a child I loved to run track and cross country but stopped when I finished school in 1969. 43 years later in May 2012 I dragged my unfit 96kg frame off the couch and started a daily walking regime. After 3 months and 1000km I was 20kg lighter. I then began to jog – a short distance at first but it was a beginning. As weeks and months passed I ran further and faster. The natural speed I had as a kid slowly returned.

In January 2013 after a 44 year break I ran my first race – 5km in 23.04. I now had the running “bug” with ambitions.

Since then I have got fitter, a lot faster and have progressed from being a 5km Park Run plodder to a world ranked marathon runner.

I love to compete in 5km, 10km and half marathon events but it is the challenge of the marathon I enjoy the most. My marathon PB is currently 2.48.36 which ranks me #2 in Australia and #4 in the world for 60-64 year-old’s.

The achievement I am proudest of is setting a 60-64yo half marathon record in my home state of Tasmania in Jan 2015. It was my first race back there in 46 years after moving to Brisbane in 1975.

Current PB’s for other events are 5km – 18.05; 10km – 37.21 and half marathon – 1.22.05. I am competitive and run to win; not just participate. Anyone in front of me is a target regardless of age.

Though extremely proud of what I have achieved so far I am not satisfied. I continue striving to improve all my PB’s especially the marathon.

In my quest for improvement I began to use UCAN 6 weeks before the 2015 Gold Coast Marathon. At the time I was having major fuelling issues. I simply could not stomach gels. I was already aware of UCAN but knew little about it. I found their informative webcasts on You Tube and learnt all I needed to know. I purchased a tub, trialled it on long runs and found it solved my fuelling issues immediately. For me it was a match made in heaven.

On marathon race day I had one serve 30 minutes before the start then another at 24km. Apart from sugar free electrolyte drinks that was all I needed. I finished 75th out of 5200 with a 19 minute PB.

An unexpected bonus was that it also helped me lose weight after being stuck on a 71kg weight plateau for over 12 months and 5000km’s of training. I am now 67kg.

I firmly believe in UCAN and it how it benefits endurance athletes such as runners, cyclists and triathletes. It is an honour to be an ambassador for Generation UCAN.

John Shaw

Team Elite