Getting in some hamstring stretches is beach sprinter David Townson.
Getting in some hamstring stretches is beach sprinter David Townson. ROB BARICH

Townson, 55 , not giving up

Forty-one years after he first stepped on to the sand, Dave Townson’s desire to win an Australian championship burns brighter than ever.

After an eight-year lay-off the 55-year-old of Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club legend has taken his training to new levels in a hope to capture an elusive Australian crown.

“I’ve been doing surf lifesaving a long time and I’ve never won a national title. That’s what drives me,” Townson said yesterday.

“If you’re going to start training you want to compete in the Australian championships and that’s my motivation.”

For the past few weeks Townson has been training under respected Moore Park Beach sprint coach Darryl Charteris.

“It’s the first time in more than 40 years that I’ve actually had a sprint coach so it has been a challenge,” Townson said.

“He actually trained my two daughters (Nadia and Rebecca) so we know each other pretty well.”

In 2001, Townson retired from surf lifesaving events because he was burnt out and sick of travelling to national events.

“I had been doing it since I was 14 and I guess you just get a bit tired of going to the events all the time,” Townson said.

“I’ve been to state titles and I’ve won a few medals and I guess I wasn’t up for it anymore.”

But, when next March’s national titles were moved from Scarborough Beach in Western Australia to Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast, Townson decided to reconsider his retirement.

That meant starting a new training regime after a long lay-off, and no one is better at training beach sprinters than Moore Park’s Charteris.

The coach has trained champions from Chris Lindeman to rising stars Georgia Devlin and Katherine Lawn.

“We’ve been easing him into it a bit because he obviously isn’t as young as the others,” Charteris said.

“But he’s been coming along well.”

Townson said training alongside Devlin and Lawn, both 16, had re-energised him.

“They give me a 10-metre head start and they still catch me, but it’s great to train with them,” he said.

Townson has started training once a week with Charteris but he concedes he will need to pick up the pace before the national titles in March.

Still, he knows the Australian title will be harder than ever to capture.

“Even at my age the guys who are racing turn up in Commonwealth tracksuits,” he said.

“I’m under no impression that I’ll be Australian champion but the motivation is good.

“It keeps me out of trouble.”

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