Good Sports for 50 years
A common interest in sport has been the secret to a fulﬁlling marriage for Les and Rona McCarthy who celebrate their golden wedding anniversary today.
The couple met through sport in 1933, when Les was an administrator for the Hastings Athletic Club, of which Rona was a member.
Although the couple’s interest in sports constantly threw them together, their hectic lifestyles delayed their marriage for six years.
The year they met, Rona broke the New Zealand 80-metre hurdle record, continuing competing to uphold it in the years that followed.
She was also heavily involved in basketball and was picked as a New Zealand representative in 1937.
In 1938 she represented New Zealand in athletics at the British Empire Games in Sydney, winning a bronze medal in the 80-metre hurdles.
“Les had to run fast to catch me,” she said.
Mr McCarthy was also heavily involved in sport before his marriage, representing Hawke’s Bay in cricket and rugby.
Their lives did not slow after their wedding.
Les worked in administration for New Zealand Loan and Mercantile, which later became Dalgety Loan. Rona worked part-time for Jack Chalmers sports store.
During this time Les was still playing rugby and cricket, while Rona was player-coach for Convent Old Girls’ basketball team, a position she held for 43 years.
“Most weeks the only time we were home together was Friday nights,” Rona said.
Sharing work and give-and-take were essential ingredients in their marriage, she said.
The couple have one child and two grandchildren, all of whom are keen sports people.
Their anniversary will be marked this weekend with a celebration organised by their daughter.
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