Adding to history at the local marathon

First: Hamish Cropper won this year's Traralgon Marathon. Photograph Tom Hayes





HUNDREDS of people gathered at De Grandi’s Winery in Traralgon for the 56th annual Traralgon Marathon & Running Festival.

Taking place on a chilly morning last Sunday, runners made their way to the winery to get ready for what was ahead of them.

Three events would take place; the marathon (42.2 kilometres), half marathon (21.1km) and the 10km event.

The Traralgon Marathon is known as the longest-running marathon event in Australia, as they celebrate the 56th running, beginning in 1967.

“The club members should be justifiably proud of running a top line event, which has the distinction of being the longest-running marathon event in Australia,” Traralgon Harriers president and race director Phill Mayer said.

At 8am, the marathon was underway, which saw runners on the course for over two and a half hours, and up to over five hours.

An hour later, the half marathon got underway at 9am, and at 10am as the fog began to disperse, the 10km run began.

Waiting at the top of the hill at De Grandi’s Winery, it wasn’t long until people began to file through and over the finish line.

As they crossed the finish line they were presented with a completion medal, Gatorade and a much-needed water.

I couldn’t imagine running a whole 42 or so kilometres, only for the finish line to be at the top of a hill, but everyone seemed to crack on and was determined to finish.

Soon enough a crowd was forming, just as the first marathon runners were expected to come through.

At around 10.40am, people began to notice a marathon runner making his way to the finish line, it was Hamish Cropper, representing the Melbourne Midday Milers.

After making it up the hill, he confirmed his time of 2:42.19, finishing a whole five minutes ahead of the next finisher, more than a kilometre down the road.

His pace actually rose throughout the marathon, beginning at 3:53 per kilometre for the first 15 kilometres, before shifting to 3:46 per kilometre at the end of the marathon.

Cropper was at the front of the pack for most of the marathon, he was the fourth person to cross the 15-kilometre mark, but then the first to cross the 31.55km mark and of course, the finish line.

Mayer was impressed with the turnout.

“The event was capped at 300 (people), 100 in each event, we actually had 340,” he said.

“It was a fantastic day. All the volunteers from Traralgon Harriers, Neighbourhood Watch, Rotary Club Morwell, Traralgon West Scouts and our drink stations were so amazing and supportive.

“The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail committee had put so much work to make the trail perfect for running a large event like this.”

Mayer was happy to hear of the happy stories that came from the event.

“The feedback from the runners across the events was nothing but positive. There are so many stories of triumph when people run a marathon or half marathon,” he said.

“Everyone has found their own way of getting across the finish line, but just getting to the start is a massive achievement.”

Some familiar faces were out an about throughout the day, either on the track or in the crowd.

“We’re exceptionally lucky to be able to have this event in our region, and it’s so good for the community,” Mayer said.

“De Grandi’s (Winery) is an amazing venue, we had Federal MP Darren Chester run the half (marathon), Deputy Mayor Dan Clancey also ran the half (marathon) Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan was at the finish cheering people on, there was a real buzz.”

The Traralgon Harriers are always looking for new members and it is more than just running.

“The Traralgon Harriers is a genuinely unique and welcoming club, it’s not just about the best and most elite athletes,” Mayer said.

“We’re all about creating a supportive environment for social and recreational runners, and providing a social connection, and that was on display as well.”

The full results can be found at

On your marks: The 10-kilometre event began under blues skies. Photograph Tom Hayes
Together: Winners and sponsors at the presentation. Photograph supplied