By SAMUEL DARROCH
LAST year’s Traralgon Marathon top two switched places yesterday as Dion Finocchiaro turned the tables on training partner and running rival Cam Hall to win the 47th edition of the event.
Finocchiaro blitzed his personal best by some five minutes, flying home in two hours, 33 minutes and 42 seconds to claim his second marathon victory, and first in Traralgon.
The pace was hot throughout, starting with a three minute and 18 second opening kilometre by Finocchiaro, which he maintained to finish with an average of 3.38 minutes per kilometre.
As was the case last year, Finocchiaro and Hall were locked together for the first 30 kilometres, but the former drew away in the latter stages.
“We were running with a bit of a headwind against us and we sort of dropped the pace back a little bit, one kilometre I sort of picked it up and just gradually put a bit of distance into him,” Finocchiaro said.
After running 2.41.14 last year, two minutes behind Hall, Finocchiaro eclipsed that effort by about eight minutes yesterday to record a memorable victory.
“It’s a massive feeling, I’m really happy about it,” Finocchiaro said.
“I’ve put a lot of solid weeks in; backing up hard training efforts, big runs, fast runs, double day running and running with Cameron a lot and we had a good race together.”
Finocchiaro put the turnaround on Hall down to extra race preparation and tackling more gruelling distances throughout 2014.
“The difference this year would be probably the bigger base, just with the longer runs… I’ve done at race pace,” he said.
“Me and Cameron have done a lot of training runs together, 40 odd kilometre runs, and we ran 30km together today at the same pace.
“I love the event and it’s a great course to get a PB on as well.”
Hall was second, some 13 minutes in arrears, followed closely by Stephen Rennick.
Melbourne runner Katherine Macmillan took out the women’s full distance, also smashing her personal best time by about five minutes in the process.
After taking on the half-marathon last year, Macmillan cited a fast, flat Traralgon circuit as key to her 3.07.07 hour time, almost 30 minutes faster than second place finisher, Jenny Northe.
“It’s fast, it’s a really nice fast course, I enjoyed it out there and the weather was perfect,” she said.
“I’m ecstatic with my time… I was aiming for 3.15.”
Macmillan said aside from the final hill, she felt “strong all day” and opened up a significant lead by the halfway mark.
“I didn’t know until the turnaround, but I was a couple of kilometres in front of the second female, so I was in a good position and I just had to hold on, but I was mainly running against the clock anyway,” she said.
Traralgon Harriers president Todd Houghton estimated the fundraising total to be about $18,000 for Latrobe Regional Hospital, on par with last year’s effort.
Some 800 runners took part across the 10km, half-marathon and 42km events.