If life was an orange, Jason Marshall’s one of those guys who could squeeze the last little drop out of it.
Talk to him for a couple of minutes and you’re exhausted just thinking about how he makes the most of every day. Hot air ballooning, jumping out of a plane, bungee jumping, scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, hunting, boating. You name it, he’s done it.
Actually, that’s not quite true. There is one thing he hasn’t done yet, and he means to rectify it soon.
‘Next year for my birthday we’re going to go to Costa Rica for a month to learn how to surf,’ he says, of him and his partner Lynn Paterson. Yes, that Lynn Paterson, who spent 14 months circumnavigating New Zealand in a kayak.
When Jason says he hopes to learn to surf in Costa Rica, don’t think he means lazing on the beach and training on a soft top mini mal. He wants to combine it with traversing from the Pacific to the Caribbean—‘traversing’ being shorthand for hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking from one ocean to the other over 18 days, then scuba diving at the other end.
‘I’m that type of person,’ Jason says, in his understated way. ‘I’ll try all sorts of things.’
There was a time when Jason was more handy with a set of steak knives than he was with a paddle or a scuba mask. From school in Palmerston North he worked as a chef, which took him to the UK before he came back to NZ and settled in Auckland. After a time in local hospitality he was ready for something else, and because he was into fitness, becoming a personal trainer made sense.
He joined Health and Sports in Morningside 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back.
‘I went around several places and these guys gave me the opportunity. I worked as a barista in the mornings and worked evenings to build up my clientele until I’d established enough of a business.’
Sixteen years is a long time anywhere, but especially working as a PT in the same gym. Jason puts the longevity down to loyal clients, and his commitment to being honest with them.
‘I’ve still got clients from when I started,’ he says. ‘Now it’s got to the point where they say, Aw Jason, would you like to use our house in Pauanui? I’ve trained ladies through their pregnancies and now their kids are off to school.’
Jason can be seen most mornings at the ‘community table’ out the front of Crave, where he’s one of the local characters helping to create the Morningside buzz. He’s been drinking coffee at Crave from the very beginning, before even Nigel and Blue took it over (before it was Crave). One of the things he loves the most is the diversity of people who gather there. For Jason, it goes way beyond drinking flat whites. He’s been on the Crave neighbourhood camp for the past four years, and helped the crew when they moved the cafe across the road.
‘I literally shed blood for this place,’ he says, only half-joking.
When he’s not drinking coffee or taking someone through a workout, it’s fair to say Jason is sucking the proverbial marrow from life, and making the most of every opportunity.
‘Someone said to me, have you ever regretted anything that you’ve done in life. I said no. Because right here, right now, I love what I’ve achieved and if I regretted anything I wouldn’t be here right now loving this.’