Marian Mitchell, of Perth, after her Indoor Rowing events at the 2024 New Zealand Masters Games. Photo: Supplied.

“If you keep doing the same things, you’re going to end up in the same place.”

That’s the personal motto of Marian Mitchell, who’s competing in the 70-74 age group for Indoor Rowing and 66+ age group for Indoor Triathlon.

In 2013 Marian was diagnosed with alopecia and was told there was nothing she could do about it. She decided to challenge it and tried a series of different drugs, which only made it worse.

“Then I had a lightbulb moment,” she says. “It was a long time ago but I can still remember the feeling. I needed to be completely honest with myself and do something different.”

For Marian that meant she would stop focusing on medication and start training. Over time her blood pressure dropped and she no longer needed to take any medication. She then discovered events and was hooked.

“I started with local events, like City to Surf. Then for some reason I googled the Masters Games in Australia. My first one was in Tasmania in 2017 where I did the duathlon. Then in Adelaide in 2019 I won gold in 500 rowing.”

For a while there she did every event under the sun.

“It was probably a bit of overkill. I’ve settled down now but I’m always looking for something different. You just never know when you won’t be able to do it anymore so do it while you can. I love it.”

Marian, who lives on a little farm up in the hills of Perth, has her own home gym where she has a bike, rower and treadmill. She has two sessions a week with a personal trainer and also walks five days a week.

“I didn’t realise how competitive I was until I started doing events,” she says. “I’m deadly serious. Fun comes second for me. I work hard.”

In saying that, it doesn’t really matter if you come last, she says.

“Beginning is better than not. It’s never too late to do what you might have done.”