Rose, 93, Keeps at Full Stretch

2907 YPG Rose150x
2907 YPG Rose150x

For sheer get up and go, Rose Jacob takes some beating. In visits to the annual New Zealand Masters Games over the past two years, she has returned home with a total of 11 gold medals. Rose is 93.

Her successes on both occasions have come in the 100 metre sprint, 5km walk and indoor rowing events. She is keen to compete in next year's Masters Games because she wants to set an age group world rowing record over 2000 metres.

Rose is blessed with tremendous flexibility – she can still do the splits. But since October 2006 she has also worked out assiduously at Hamilton's Club Cardio gym, where she is an honorary member.

"I've always been active, I've always done the splits, and I do like daily stretches," Rose says.

Until she competed at the Masters Games, Rose had not taken part in sport since she was a girl in England, apart from a walking race some 30 years ago. But she's been a Scottish country dancer since 1955 and she took up abseiling and tap dancing when she was 80.

"I like to be on the move. I'm not very good at sitting still for very long, unless I'm thoroughly involved with what I'm doing or listening to," says Rose, who arrived in New Zealand in 1950.

She can't even stand still when she's appearing with Hamilton's Eastside Singers choir, sometimes tap-dancing during performances. Rose joined the choir four years ago and is described by its secretary, Christine Wheeler, as 'an inspiration'.

"My gym work has helped my singing by improving my breathing enormously, and it's also helping me get rid of the arthritis I've got in my shoulders, ankles and fingers," Rose says.

To her fellow senior citizens she says: "You've got to get up and do something, if you're able to get on your feet – and some people can't, of course. You've got to watch what you eat, do a certain amount of exercise – and if you can skip, do a bit of skipping."

Does Rose include skipping in her fitness programme?

She hesitates: "Yes, but not much nowadays because I don't have time. I'm too busy doing other things."