Hitting the track and the books

Aaron Booth stands on the top of the podium (right) after winning the Queensland Decathlon Championship

Training six days a week for as much as six hours at a time, Massey University student Aaron Booth is able to juggle an athletic career and a degree in construction.

Booth competes in the decathlon, an event not for the faint-hearted, which runs over two days and comprises 10 events - 100 metres, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and the 1500 metres. But at just 20 years old, the young athlete from Henderson is proving that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Booth says that the decathlon is “just as much mental as it is physical, if not more.” He has recently returned from the Queensland Decathlon Championship earlier this month, where he placed first, and scored a B standard for World University Games in Taipei this August.

His training schedule requires him to train six days a week, which can place him at the track 2.5-6 hours at a time, depending on what events he is working on that day. “Being willing to put in the hours in training to improve all 10 events takes its toll and something different is sore pretty much everyday,” Booth says.

The strain of his body took its toll last year, when a particularly nasty onset of patella tendinitis ruled Booth out of the 2015/16 season. “Nothing's more demoralising than not being able to do what you love because your body won't play ball,” Booth says.

When Booth isn’t on the track, he is in the library studying for his Bachelor of Construction, majoring in Quantity Surveying, of which has completed two years of study, with the last year split over a two-year period.

“It gives me an escape from athletics and sports in general,” Booth says. “However, it can get challenging if you aren't managing your time well or making sure you're up to date with lectures and assignments when you are travelling.

“But Massey has been a huge help, giving me advice on managing workload and organising assignments when I'm away.”

Booth hopes to one day work in a reputable construction company, but he would also like to keep a connection with athletics, such as a coaching role.

“You can't compete forever, there has to be something for you when this time comes - at any point, something could happen which could stop you from competing again, you need to have something you enjoy to fall back on.”

In his athletic career, Booth plans to solve the issue with his pelvis to take a podium spot at the World University Games in Taipei, which could be enough to secure a spot on the team for the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games in 2020, and even the National Decathlon Record.

When asked who he owes he success to, Booth says “I can’t thank my family enough – my parents and sister Natalie. I don't think they have missed a competition in the 17 years I've been doing athletics.

“Not to mention my coaches, Matt Dallow and Jeremy McColl - I practically live at the track and they spend more time there than I do which shows how dedicated they are to me and the other athletes.” 

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey