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'For an old girl, I’m not bad!' West Coast Police Commander using Rotorua half-marathon to prepare for gruelling 85km race

A West Coast police officer is about to compete in the run of her life, representing New Zealand at the Trail Running World Champs in Spain next weekend.

But she's far from winding down before the 85km slog; she's using today's Rotorua half marathon as a chance to warm up and casually do some speed training.

She burns through a pair of running shoes every five weeks - that's what happens when you're clocking over 140 km's each week.

But Mel Aitken says her distance running isn’t a supernatural feat.

"I'm not super fast, there's alot faster girls around the country," she said.

"For an old girl, I'm not too bad!"

The 41 year old has conquered 30 marathons in the past six years, readying her for the World Champs in Spain where an 85km run with an elevation of 5000 metres awaits her.

"I never dreamed that I would represent New Zealand, particularly at ultra-distance running."

But there's a whole lot more to this top runner. She's also a top cop.

The West Coast Police District Commander's office is wallpapered in motivational messages.

She reckons running's helped her rise through the ranks.

"You get into your day of work and you just feel on fire and you feel like you can do anything," Inspector Aitken said.i

"If you can run 20km before work, what’s stopping you when you get to work from achieving your goals?"

From chasing down the bad guys to chasing down competitors -it's all in a day’s work for this runner.

Inspector Mel Aitken has conquered 30 marathons, but the Trail Running World Champs next weekend will be a different beast. Source: 1 NEWS