The countdown of the top 10 most memorable Melbourne races continues with our panel of experts selecting 2015 at No.6.
The Year: 2015
The Winners: Brad Milosevic (NSW) 2:16.00, Jess Trengove (SA) 2:27.45
Jess Trengove qualified for the Rio Olympics with a personal best winning time of 2hr27min45sec — making her the sixth fastest Australian female in history.
“That was what the aim of this year’s marathon was — to show I can do it, that I can line up for Rio and have a real crack,” Trengove said.
“It’s not just about being at the Olympics to soak up the experience. That’s what London was all about — this one is about having a crack. I knew I should be able to get this sort of result here if I fuelled myself right and maintained concentration.”
Trengove, then 28, had moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in January to ensure she had the perfect preparation for the race.
She was helped throughout the race by a few members of her training group, including 2005 world championship 5000m bronze medallist Craig Mottram, who stayed with her to the 38km mark before diverting to his favourite bakery.
“He told me he was happy to take me that far as long as there was a bun with his name on it at Domain Rd bakery,” Trengove said. “I said just tell the owners to put the tab on me and I’ll pay for whatever he wants.”
New Zealander Lydia O’Donnell came through the field for second in 2:39.01, while Ethiopian refugee Makda Harun Haji, who led early, was third in 2:40.37.
On a great day for Australians, Sydney runner Brad Milsoevic, 25, upstaged the visiting African contingent to win the overall race in 2:16:00 – also a Rio de Janeiro Olympic qualifier.
Milosevic was dropped by four Africans and fellow NSW runner Matthew Cox after just 5km and still trailed Kenyan Felix Kangogo by more than a minute at the 35km mark before flying over the Shrine hill and passing Kangogo in Domain Road.
Six months earlier Milosevic had pulled out of the Nagano Marathon at about 37km, but his form had improved with a win in the City to Surf in August.
“I had a bit of a chat with my coach Ken Green and we mutually agreed that Melbourne was more favourable, both with the course and the weather and not having to travel too far, so we decided to give it another go and I’m pleased now we did,” Milosevic said.
“He also said, you never know, you might pick up a place and to win this in front of all these people at the MCG is just huge. It’s an IAAF qualifier for the Olympics which is a great achievement for me in itself.”
There were nearly 10,000 runners in the half marathon, which for the first time doubled as the Australian title.
Kenyan Sydney Olympic gold medallist Reuben Kosgei crossed the line first in 65:22, while Lisa Weightman (71:00) won the battle of the super mums with Eloise Wellings (72:39).
“I was surprised at just how strong I was given I’ve not done anything like this for two years,” Weightman, who had given birth to son Pete in January, said. “It’s great for my marathon coming up (Houston in January) and I now know I’m on track.”
Gold Coast’s Jonathan Peters won the Australian title in 65:34 and led Queensland to a victory in the teams’ title, while Victoria won the women’s team event.
Winners: Brad Milosevic (NSW) 2:16.00, Jess Trengove 2:27.45
Why it was memorable
Mona says: “Big run by Jess T, but for me it was having an Aussie win the men’s race in Brad Milosevic.”
Turney says: “Huge run by Jess Trengove in another world class time which qualified her for the Olympics.”
Muirden says: “The Aussie double was hard to beat and this was the first year that the half was granted national title status. ”
Steve Moneghetti – Berlin and Commonwealth Games Marathon winner, Balllarat running icon, Comm Games Chef de Mission and regular Melbourne Marathon TV commentator
Jackie Cook (nee Turney) – two-time race winner (1981 and 1987) and coach of many Melbourne Marathon entrants
Chris Muirden – race historian, regular entrant and former course director