For 44 years, the Traralgon Marathon has attracted runners from across Victoria.
This year will be the 45th running of the event, making it the longest running marathon in Australia, and a host of athletes have decided to challenge themselves with the marathon for the first time.
One of them is Andrew Legge, who will be running his first marathon after building up to the distance over two years.
“I started running with the Harriers in 2007 doing smaller distances, but a few years ago I started thinking about going further,” he said.
“Two years ago I did the 10-kilometre run, then last year I did the half marathon.
“I don’t think it’s something you set out to do when you start running, but as you get better you slowly increase the distances and then realise you might be able to do it.”
For someone who does not have a running background, the marathon alone would seem like a big enough challenge but for Legge, it is part of a preparation for a much more daunting event.
“Last Friday I entered the 2013 Melbourne Ironman,” he said.
“It sold out in four minutes, so I was lucky to get a spot.”
Although Legge has entered the ironman, at this stage he said he was focused on the marathon as he believed the run would be his biggest challenge.
“The great thing about this marathon is that being local, I don’t have to travel,” he said.
“Although there won’t be the crowd support that you’d get somewhere like Melbourne or the Gold Coast, I can sleep in my own bed, train on the course and basically do it in a familiar environment.”
Legge said one of the biggest challenges of the marathon was making the commitment to training and to yourself.
“Running with the Harriers is such a fantastic start for anyone who wants to build up their running distances,” he said.
“The club really does create a supportive environment and the Thursday night runs help you with that commitment.”
Seven weeks out from the event, Legge is running approximately 60 to 70 kilometres per week.
“I haven’t got the kilometres in my legs that I’d like just yet, but I’ve got the next few weeks to really build on that,” he said.
“On Saturdays I’m doing about 20 to 30km and then making up the rest of the distance during the week with the Thursday runs and other training.”
At this stage, Legge said he does not know what to expect.
“I just want to finish and see where I’m at,” he said.
“It’s mainly about a healthy lifestyle; I’m doing it for myself; not to get the best time.”
This year, a number of entrants will be hoping to achieve milestones.
Ian Newnham will be completing his 26th Traralgon Marathon, John MacKenzie is going for a record-breaking five Traralgon Marathon wins in a row and Sandra Timmer-Arends is going for a record of eight total victories.
The Traralgon Running Festival will be held on Sunday, 3 June, with all races starting at 8am from the Traralgon Tennis Centre.
Runners can choose between three events: the marathon (42.195 km) in its 45th year, the half marathon (21.1 km) and the quarter marathon (10.55 km).
Entries can be made online at
www.traralgonharriers.net and all events will be electronically timed.