THE 57th Traralgon Marathon and Running Festival is now completed for 2024, and what a day it was.

Beginning and ending at the Vine & View Vineyard in Traralgon East, hundreds gathered to participate on a cool Sunday morning, or to witness these spent and prodigious individuals hours later as they made their way across the finish line.

An engrossing atmosphere was to be expected from the Traralgon Harriers Athletic Club as the running event reached its capacity a whole month before day’s kick-off.

The sector for run-lovers is embedded into the region and has seen growing success as a community sports club and in its events over the last handful of years.

“Creating an event where demand is ceased of capacity means that we have some prestige, and people will hope to enter early rather than last minute, which makes organisation and planning easier for the club and especially for our volunteers,” Traralgon Harriers Athletic Club President, Phill Mayer said.

Leader: Traralgon Harriers President, Phill Mayer completes the half-marathon. Photograph: Blake Metcalf-Holt

The events themselves took place across the day including the titular marathon itself, half-marathon, and 10-kilometre run.

There were 59 total marathon runners that trotted down to the start line at 8am on Sunday, June 2, that would take them onto the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail then forth a long trek through Glengarry to Toongabbie and back. Half-marathon runners (150 in total) commenced an hour later for a circuit to Glengarry and back.

No marathon is easy, though this race has been cited for its lighter intensity on the legs due to the consistency in its terrain as a flat course for experienced and new coming runners.

The first to cross that finish line ingrained into each marathon runners’ head throughout their journey would be James Vince who finished at a staggering time of two hours, 44 minutes and 34 seconds, that was followed swiftly by Dale Hodgson at two hours, 45 minutes and two seconds, both in the male aged 40-49 bracket.

The women’s category of the marathon was taken out by Sarah Franks at a time of three hours, 22 minutes and 41 seconds, followed by Yani Cornthwaite at three hours, 31 minutes and 37 seconds.

Congrats: Women’s marathon winner, Sarah Franks receives her participation medal. Photograph: Blake Metcalf-Holt

Close to three hundred people took off and crossed that sacred finish line as the hours went by, with people travelling from near and wide taking on the challenge of ‘The Friendly Marathon’.

Avid runner and Geelong resident Yuan Choa Cheng completed the famous Boston Marathon before rushing back to Australia to take part in the Ballarat Marathon all this last April, he then completed Traralgon’s in a time of three hours, 44 minutes and 15 seconds just months later.

There were four men who ran over the age of 60, including Liansheng Jiang at the ripe age 72 years-old completing the 42.2km in four hours, two minutes and three seconds, an amazing effort and better than some 20 and 30-year-olds.

Mario Vicente from Albufeira in Portugal, who over 18 months ago was diagnosed with bowel cancer and underwent major chemotherapy and surgery just 12 months ago finished eighth overall in the men’s marathon with a time of three hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds.

Effort: Portugal’s Mario Vicente completes the Traralgon Marathon, 12months after cancer treatment. Photograph: Blake Metcalf-Holt

Much like the track and the runners on it, the steadiness and consistency that made the day an overall success was in no small part due to the volunteer work done to get this force of an event up and running.

Someone like first-year Race Director, Desley Gray, is on top of everything and all departments that make the day run as smooth as can be, “someone who is very dedicated to making the club and the marathon the best it can possibly be”.

“She’s thrown herself into the role with dedication and enthusiasm, taking on huge and multiple tasks in stride,” Mayer said.

Latrobe City Council is one of the frequent major benefactors of the Traralgon Marathon and Running Festival, and has been shown to be a major attraction for visitors to come to the region.

“What’s really good is the amount of people who have travelled, and when Latrobe puts money into these events, we like to see people come and stay… that’s why we invest into events and this being the 57th year is something that’s just going to continue to get better and better,” Latrobe City Councillor, Dan Clancey said.

Bravo: Traralgon Marathon winner from each age division. Photograph: Blake Metcalf-Holt

Latrobe City will continue to support sports events and other community events of this scale.