THE Traralgon Harriers Running Club is helping whip aspiring Melbourne Marathon participants into shape for this year’s event through a new Sunday morning training regime.
Targeting 10 kilometre, half-marathon and full-marathon disciplines, the ASICS training series program has become a motivator for a myriad of runners including new club member Elizabeth Gamble.
The 44 year-old breast cancer survivor from the United Kingdom is targeting the half-marathon distance for the first time in 30 years, and is out to prove “there’s life (after cancer); it’s not the be all and end all – you can move on”.
After completing the 10km Sussan Women’s Fun Run in December while raising funds for Canteen Australia, the half-marathon represents more of a personal challenge for Gamble.
“(I want to say) I’ve done this (distance), and just (show) how I’ve moved on from having breast cancer,” Gamble said.
Since returning to running after overcoming her illness, Gamble has shed almost 10 kilograms and is broaching new ground with the training group.
Approaching the 16km mark in the preparation cycle, Gamble said the group-run format had proved beneficial.
“It’s good learning to run with people,” she said.
“It’s a bit of a challenge picking my speed up and keeping up with people.
“It gives you a bit of encouragement, no-one minds if you’re slow, they’re not racing off in front or anything like that. It’s a really good environment.”
Experienced run leaders have also been generous with advice, helping Gamble better understand energy management and pacing.
“It gives you a bit of motivation… and you’ve got advice on how to do it properly,” she said.
Trent Kooyman is another who has relished the initiative, taking part in the 42km group in an effort to bring last year’s four-hour marathon finish down to three-and-a-half.
Currently on track to achieve that goal, Kooyman said the weekly runs were ideal preparation.
“It’s always good to run with new people and meet new friends, it’s just a lot of fun,” Kooyman said.
“You can keep pace with the group a lot better and it sort of gives you a more realistic idea of what it’s like running in a marathon.
“It’s good to get tips off other more experienced runners as well.”
Attendance has been steady at about 45 runners each week and 80 expressions of interest have been received so far.
Training is offered to novice runners and experienced campaigners, starting at 8.30am Sundays from the Harriers’ clubrooms, corner of Douglas Parade and Grubb Avenue, Traralgon.
This year’s Melbourne Marathon will be held on 13 October in support of the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre.