Rowing Rod sweeps up gold in England
GETTING up before the crack of dawn has been a tradition for Rod Hutchinson since he was 15.
The 73-year-old is out on the water at sunrise three times a week, training for his next major rowing competition.
His almost 60 years of dedication to the sport is still paying off, with the Buderim man returning from the United Kingdom earlier this month with another gold medal in hand.
Mr Hutchinson competed at the Henley Masters: a prestigious rowing event held during the Henley Royal Regatta - one of the best-known regattas in the world.
The Sunshine Coast Rowing Club competitor raced alongside master rowers from Brisbane and Melbourne, and stood as one of the oldest competitors at the event.
"They have people from all over Europe and Australia, Canada, the Americas racing there," he said.
"I rowed in an eight-man boat - what they call a G8.
"I was one of the oldest.
"We raced once in the heat then we had the final and won that."
Mr Hutchinson started rowing at age 15, quickly rising in the ranks in New Zealand, where he grew up,
before representing the country in the 1962 Commonwealth Games.
It was the second-last Games to include rowing and Mr Hutchinson's crew came second - behind Australia.
Even through his careers with the Australian Air Force and Air New Zealand, which saw him travel around the world, he always found time to row - no matter how cold it was.
He said that since retiring to Buderim, he felt blessed to be living in such a warm climate.
"I grew up in places where it was cold all the time," he said.
"Here you can row all-year round."
Mr Hutchinson encouraged other retirees to get active.
"As long as I enjoy it and healthy enough to do it, I'll keep doing it," he said.