Women from afar flock to the Traralgon Marathon

The prestige of participating in Australia’s oldest marathon resulted in more than a quarter of all participants coming from outside Gippsland.

One arrived from overseas and 11 travelled from interstate including the eventual winner of the female Traralgon Marathon, Athene Chariot.

Returning to defend the title she won in 2012, Wollongong’s Chariot said the victory meant a lot to her as a sign of successfully overcoming battles in her personal life.

“It’s a new lease of life for me getting back into running,” she said.

“I’ve been back running for three and a half years; I was diagnosed with a nasty medical condition before that, I have lupus and I’m not supposed to be able to run.”

Using her own successes as motivation, Chariot believes she can help inspire others to achieve the goals they want, by passing on the lessons she learned in her efforts to overcome the adversity of her illness.

“When I started I could barely run a kilometre without stopping and now I’ve found this new lease of life,” she said.

“For some reason I feel like I’m meant to be running.

“If you want to have a dream, you just go out there and you just go for it.

Despite having to wake at 3am on the day before the race to travel from Wollongong, Chariot said the journey to Gippsland was worth it for the friendly atmosphere of the race and the hospitality of the Traralgon locals.

She hopes to return next year to attempt to win her third title.

“I love the country atmosphere, I love the course and the people are so hospitable,” she said.

“It’s a quiet more laidback atmosphere, but there’s such a good vibe about it.”

“It’s a bonus to come down and win a race like this with so much prestige and being looked after so well by the people who put this event on.”

Included in the record breaking numbers was a special first time participant in the Traralgon Marathon.

Singapore’s Jennie Ling joined the other 837 entrants, as the only international runner in the race.

Competing in the female marathon, Ling said the race had conveniently fitted into her Australian adventure.

“I saw that there just happened to be a marathon during my period of travel,” Ling said.

“I went on some online runners forums and the reviews seemed to be quite good on the Traralgon marathon, it being very well organised and lots of locals said they wanted to come back and do it again.”