Marathon on Sunday

All systems go: Traralgon Harriers members Tim Bye, Mandy Ellis, president Phill Mayer, Ann Bomers and Steve Renehan are looking forward to another great Traralgon Marathon. photograph liam durkin



THE stage is set for the Traralgon Marathon.
The Traralgon Harriers marquee event will see runners take their marks this Sunday, for what will be the marathon’s 54th instalment.
Participants will set off from the Traralgon Vineyard, and put their best foot forward along an ‘out and back’ course on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
The full marathon goes all the way out to Toongabbie, and then turns around.
As well as the full marathon, the day will also include a half-marathon and 10 kilometre fun run.
While the full and half-marathon will no doubt carry a competitive element, Harriers president Phill Mayer said the event was as much about community and seeing people complete what they set out to achieve.
“We call ourselves ‘the friendly marathon’, it is really welcoming for people who haven’t perhaps done this sort of event before to come along and be supported,” he said.
“Everybody has a different reason for running a marathon or a half-marathon. Some people are just out there plodding along and they want to complete their first marathon and others are out there to smash a fantastic time.
“It doesn’t matter why you are here, the important thing is just competing and participating.”
The Traralgon Marathon is steeped in history, and proudly holds the title of the oldest continuous marathon in Australia.
“People generally come from right across Australia to be part of the Traralgon Marathon. It has really attracted some great runners over the years and we have some fantastic runners in the club, so we are looking forward to seeing some fantastic times over the marathon,” Mayer said.
“It is a really good trail too, there will be a lot of newbies but there will be some super-speedy runners.”
Harriers member Zack Beasley is tipped to be among the top finishes in the men, while last year’s women’s winner Narelle Crozier could again come from the clouds.
Crozier only entered days before the event last year, and ended up running a 2:56:08 time.
Fellow Harriers member Steve Renehan has stepped up as race director, and said all was in readiness to welcome some 300 participants.
“We’ve seen a lot of people that have previously competed in the 10km event or half-marathon look to upgrade and challenge themselves,” he said.
“We have half a dozen or so people taking part in their first marathon, 42kms is a long distance so we feel honoured that people are using this event to achieve that milestone.”
When asked for any tips to prospective runners, Renehan, who has completed a number of marathons himself, had some advice.
“Don’t be overawed with the distance, take it literally one kilometre at a time,” he said.
“Drink plenty of water and just enjoy it, we will all be there at the end to cheer you across the line.”
Working under the banner ‘Marathon and Running Festival’, the Harriers are encouraging participants to approach the event with a ‘to finish is to win’ mentality.
This writer has entered the full marathon, and having grown up on a potato farm, will be looking to channel his inner Cliffy Young, one of the famed past runners of the Traralgon Marathon.
The starter’s gun will go off at 8am for the marathon, with the half-marathon and 10km event to follow at 9am and 10am.