Happy New Year to our Fitness Journal readers

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To kick-start the year in style, we decided to ask some of our local athletes and friends what 2016 has in store for them. Hopefully you’ll enjoy an insight into their lives and be inspired.

julieJulie Hardaker – Mayor of Hamilton

What’s a favorite Waikato place you’ll spend time at through summer?
Hamilton Gardens is wonderful during the summer months. The gardens are beautiful and there is always a shady spot to sit. You can spend hours there because there are so many different themed places to include in your visit. We can walk to the gardens along the river and that’s a great walk.

What have been some of your favorite sporting highlights of the year?
We’ve had some big sporting events in Hamilton this year. A highlight was hosting the Cricket World Cup. The weather was perfect, saw the Black Caps in action and had some big crowds at Seddon Park. We also welcomed the teams to Hamilton at the Gardens, so that was special. We followed that up with the FIFA U20s which was a brilliant event and it was great to see football being played at FMG Stadium Waikato. And of course, it was fantastic to see the All Blacks win another Rugby World Cup, especially with so many local players in the team.

Given the time, what sport or activity would you most like to take up or be involved in for 2016?
Cycling.  We’ve got some great cycle ways with more being built. I think it’s time to buy a bike and enjoy them more.

What are you most looking forward to about 2016?
I’m excited to see the plan for the Ferrybank, which is part of our Waikato River Plan, due in the middle of the year. This development is a game-changer for Hamilton.

What is your favourite summer dish?
Salad from vegetables grown in our large garden. There is nothing like putting a salad together from freshly picked ingredients.

JanJan Barnes – Mayor of Matamata-Piako

Where in Waikato is your favourite place to spend time during summer?
In my garden with a good book under the big trees or walking on the many tracks around Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha.

What was your favourite sporting highlight of the year?
The atmosphere and lead-up to the Rugby World Cup and seeing the All Blacks win.
If time was no object, what sport/activity would you most like to be involved in for 2016?
Pilates and yoga. Good for your body and good for your mind.

What inspires/motivates you to get active?
After a day in the boardroom or back-to-back meetings I like to go for a good walk or ride my bike. My husband Rex and I like to bike out to Firth Tower or through Centennial Drive in Matamata. My son Jamie and I enjoy the great walk up to Wairere Falls. We are lucky to have the mountain tracks in Te Aroha and Holmwood Park and river walks in Morrinsville right on my doorstep

How do you like to relax?
Nothing beats a nice long massage at the Te Aroha Mineral Spas, or having time to myself to get stuck into a good book.

What is your favourite summer recipe/ingredient?
Fruit platters and berries. Ambrosia – fold together whipped low fat cream, yoghurt, marshmallows and fresh summer berries.

seteveSteve Gurney – Multisport legend

How do you plan to spend your summer holidays?
Hanging out at home in Queenstown. There are always friends calling by who need to be shown the fantastic trails around here. Also I might save some holiday time until April and spend it sailing in the Abel Tasman, as I help out with the Godzone Adventure race where I’m patron.

What is the best place you have ever spent summer in?
With family, no matter where it is. I do have fond memories as a boy, camping at the beach. If you show kids the outdoors at a young age, and they will ALWAYS value nature.

What is your favourite place to be in NZ in summer and why?
Just gotta visit the beach, feel the sand, experience the changes of the tides, the winds, and of course there are so many toys.. kayaks, kite surfing, mountain biking, snorkelling, SUP, exploring on foot, and then of course the
barbecue.

Where in the world is the ultimate destination for you and why?
Any place I haven’t been yet is next on my list. The number of places I want to visit is n+1 (where n= the number I have already visited).

What’s the best Christmas gift you have ever received and why?
The gift of having a wonderful country to explore with good health. You really appreciate it when you nearly lose it! I think my favourite tangible gift was my first bike. I clearly remember dad and grandad using grandad’s welding kit to cut down an adult bike to a size I could ride as a six-year-old. They painted it all up as a wickedly good Christmas present. My ear-to-ear grin lasted all summer! And that probably marked the start of my love of bikes, kayaks and running shoes.

honeyHoney Hireme – Black Fern and NZ sevens athlete

Where in Waikato do you like to spend time during summer and why?
Putaruru, South Waikato. It has the BEST rivers to swim in and bridges and cliffs to jump from.
What is your favourite sporting highlight of the year?
Winning the Women’s Rugby Super series in Canada. We thrashed both Canada and England who are the current World Cup holders.
If time was no object, what sport/activity would you most like to take up or be involved in for 2016?
Total immersion Te Reo Maori course. Learning my language fluently.

What inspires/motivates you to get active?
My friends and family inspire and motivate me the most. I enjoy a good hard repeated speed session at Porritt Stadium. The track always makes me feel I’m running faster.

How do you like to relax?
Sunbathing or watching sports channels – replays of the old school State of Origin games.

What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
Returning home to Putaruru after the Rio Olympics, hopefully with a medal to share with my family.

What is your favourite summer recipe/ingredient?
Kiwifruit and KFC Wicked Wings – I don’t know how to cook.

alisonAlison Storey – Sports guru

What is your favorite Waikato place to spend time during summer?
The Karapiro Sand courts out at Karapiro Domain, playing beach volleyball; Sun, sand, intense fun, the lake view.

What is your favourite sporting highlight of 2015 and why you enjoyed it so much?
The World Rowing Champs 2015 – watching a New Zealand Women’s eight qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time – history makers and pioneers; made me so proud.

If time was no object, what sport/activity would you most like to take up or be involved in for 2016?
It would be awesome to make like an elite athlete and eat, sleep, train and compete full time in archery.  Tough on the mortgage though.

What inspires/motivates you to get active?
I think Waikato, Cambridge in particular, is an incredibly inspiring place to train; you’re surrounded by some of the country’s top athletes and facilities and there are plenty of opportunities to be active and do sport and tons of good coaches.  The Te Awa cycle trail is incredibly accessible and varied, the Karapiro sand courts and playing beach volleyball is the best day out in the sun, and climbing Mt Pirongia and being absorbed by the bush is good for the soul.

How do you like to relax?
I sleep. Like a cat. In the sun

What are you most looking forward to about 2016?
Watching the Rio Olympic Games. I fully intend to hibernate in front of the TV for 16 days. No phone, no email, just healthy food and the Olympics.

What is your favourite summer recipe/ingredient?
Tomatoes from the garden! Fresh, sundried, baked, in salads – SO many nutrients and flavour.

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