Rob Italia will be competing in the most events at the upcoming Australian Masters Games and he says you’re never too young or too old to get started. The unsung hero who won’t let age defeat him.
Unlike many of his athletics peers, Rob Italia didn’t start athletics until he was in his late 40s.
Having spent his younger years playing Australian Football League, the telecommunications specialist suffered an ACL injury on the field and went through the process of a knee reconstruction and a long recovery.
Consequently, a new lease of life.
“I thought “what am I going to do now?”, I can run, and the Australian Masters Games was being hosted in Geelong that year 2013. So I thought I’d give that a go and enter,” Rob said.
Rob hung up his boots for runners as his passion for running increased.
At 47 and new to the sport, he found the athletics community welcoming, fun and supportive. While he loved his footy career, it was a significant change to the “rough and rugged” environment he had come from.
“I was just average and got a bit faster and a bit quicker. I’ve now done about six or seven Australian Masters Games, I’ve done state and national championships, and I’ve been to the World Championships in Spain where we won a gold medal in the 4 x 400m (beating USA) and broke a national record time of 3.37:43.”
Now 57, Rob (nickname ‘Power’) is competing in 15 events – but it’s more like 20, when the Games kick off in Adelaide on October 7. His events are the 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5,000m, 3,000m steeplechase, long jump, javelin, cross country, the street mile, the 10,000m walk and last but not least – or the final five – the pentathlon. That’s a big week.
Rob has voluminous medals and is also captain of the Casey Masters Athletics Club in the City of Casey, in southeastern Victoria. He does the Parkrun each Saturday – still cracking 20 minutes and regularly goes under a minute for the 400m – and counts himself as an advocate for the athletics lifestyle.
“I love the Australian Masters Games, I’m an ambassador for Masters Athletics, a Facebook influencer, I love the lifestyle because I love being active and fit,” he said.
“I post my achievements on Facebook too as I believe in celebrating success as you don’t know when it could be your last run, due to injuries or other things, it’s a diary for me and a record for my five kids and one grandson.”
For more information about the Australian Masters Games, visit https://australianmastersgames.com/