RUNNING on a 800 metres sandbank in Lami was one of the contributing factors to Joseph Rodan's (Sr) reign as a Marist Brothers High School athlete in 1967 to 1971 in the Inter Secondary Athletics Championship.
Mr Rodan said he has wonderful memories of competing in the secondary school athletics meet back in late 60s and early 70s.
He said participating in the championship moulded him to become one of the best successful athletes in the country.
"Back in the days it wasn't called the Coca-Cola Games, it was called the Inter Secondary Athletics Championship and I used to compete in the 100m, high jump, 400m and 800m," Mr Rodan said.
"I had the high jump record for a while in the Suva Zone 2 meet because I was jumping almost 2m in the field event and that record was broken later.
"A lot of people think that Banuve ran the fastest time, but I ran the fastest time of 10.4 seconds on the grass track back in the days and I had the record for that. For the 400m my best time was 46.8s, for the 400m hurdles my best time was 52.8s and the 800m my best time was 153.5s.
"I did all of those events just to prepare me for the 400m event because I was a 400m runner and in the Olympics I ran the 400m.
"I have won 14 gold medals, 19 silvers and five bronze medals in international athletics meet. I can't recall how many medals I've won from the secondary school competition because I started right from the junior grade up to the senior grade participating in many events.
Athletics is the reason why Mr Rodan is well recognised in the sporting fraternity today, through athletics he has represented Fiji to four Olympics (two as a competitor and two as an official) five Commonwealth Games (three as a competitor and two as an official) and eight South Pacific Games (four as a competitor and four as an official) and now he is the president of Athletics Fiji and the president of FASANOC too.
"I really loved athletics because growing up in Lami I spent a lot of my childhood days playing on the sandbank. I didn't realise that playing there then was building up my stamina and strength to compete in the Inter Secondary Athletics Championship.
"That helped me in my training especially running in track events. Since then I have never looked back."
In 2007 Mr Rodan was also inducted into the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame.
Today Mr Rodan gives back to the athletics fraternity by trying to implement new plans to develop the sports further and improve athletics programs in the country.