This year’s Traralgon Marathon bears special significance for two dedicated men, Brian Glover and Ian Newnham, with every entry fee to be donated to Latrobe Regional Hospital.
The cause is added incentive for Portland walker Glover, who sees the marathon as a second home coming.
“It will be my 14th Traralgon Marathon and I’ve done about 45 or 46 Traralgon events, which includes… the Walhalla event, six hour track race and King of the Mountains up to Mt Tassie,” Glover said.
“Traralgon (Harriers) Running Club is one of the best runner’s clubs; they put on the best events and are a very friendly club and I basically have got to know the people as if we were neighbours.
“You’re not just out there on your own, they’re somebody you know. It’s that comradeship that makes it what it is.”
After taking up walking at age 50, and completing his first marathon six years later in 1996, Glover has since competed across Australia in numerous marathon and ultra marathon events.
In total, Glover has completed 135 marathons, 59 ultra-marathons and countless kilometres on the training track.
“Last year I did 30 races over the year of different distances and totalled 3250km. I average anywhere between 80 to 100 kilometres per week. And when you’re walking, that turns into a lot of hours,” Glover said.
After winning a host of medals nation-wide, there is not much space left on Glover’s impressive resume, however, he has one goal left to walk towards.
“I’d like to get to do at least 150, that’s my goal to do at least 150 marathons which I should achieve sometime next year,” he said.
“Next year I want to do the Great Ocean Road race again because that’s the 10th year and I will have done every one.”
While the friendships forged and sights seen over the years have been highlights of his walking career, Glover said the biggest positive was an improved everyday lifestyle.
“At the age of 50 I started to take it up, to lose some weight. I’ve lost over 20 kilos just through doing that training and I’m still down to that 65 kilo mark.”
“I did my first marathon at age 54 which was the Melbourne Marathon in 1996 and from there I was only going to do one marathon, just so I could say I’d done a marathon and now this Sunday (at Geelong) I’m doing my 135th.”
In contrast to Glover, Newnham started running early in life to keep fit in his teens.
It was not until his late 30s that the Trafalgar local completed his first marathon in Traralgon in 1986.
“I ran two or three marathons a year for the next few years. I branched out into Canberra and it became a way of life and I guess since then I’ve gotten hooked on running,” Newnham said.
Newnham continued to traverse the state and country in his quest to compete.
“I’ve just finished my 86th marathon. That includes 26 Melbourne, 26 Traralgon and 23 Canberra marathons as well as a few South Melbourne marathons and a few people’s marathons in Melbourne.”
The triple figure marathon mark looms as Newnham’s target, a goal he said could be achieved in the next few years, but the medals and milestones are not the sole indicators of achievement for the veteran competitor.
“I probably see it as a matter of character building, it’s a discipline, (and) it’s a lot of hard work,” he said.
“I find it’s always a challenge and a sense of achievement when you finish. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes you wonder why you’re doing it, but you always seem to come up and do another run.”
As his maiden marathon, the Traralgon event has provided fond memories for Newnham, including a tussle with a legendary Victorian runner.
“One of the memories of the Traralgon marathon was running with Cliff Young. He started the marathon and fired the gun and then jumped in the run and afterwards (I) had a few cherished moments with Cliff after the run. I think I beat him,” Newnham said.
Star encounters aside, it is the friendly and familiar atmosphere of the run that keeps him coming back.
“I probably see Traralgon as my home marathon and it’s a relatively small marathon,” he said.
“I find it more friendly and sociable; there’s not a lot of pressure. You can go out and sort of mix with people and year after year you know the people.”
Traralgon marathon and running festival race director Todd Houghton said the Harriers club loved seeing Newnham and Glover participate each year, amid a host of new and old faces alike.
“We have record entries this year and we expect to donate a significant sum to the Latrobe Regional Hospital as a result,” Houghton said.
Entries close on Wednesday and may be lodged at www.traralgonmarathon.org.au