Medibank Marathon numbers jumped back up with more than 7000 entrants and 6373 finishers – our largest tally since 2014 and we were again the largest marathon in Australia this year.
The Sri Lankan Airlines half marathon sold out and we finished with a record 9968 finishers making us also the largest half marathon in Australia this year.
The Asics 10km run grew by more than 600 with 7953 finishers, while the 5km event had 3374 finishers.
It was 15C and there was barely a breeze when the marathon began at 7am and it was still only 18C when the half started at 8am. It was 22C when Liam Adams crossed the line at 9.15am and the south-easterly winds had started gusting at up to 20km/h. By 2pm when the last runner crossed the finish line it was 25C and gusts were up to 37km/h.
Irish born mum Sinead Diver ran the fastest marathon by an Australian on home soil, slashing 46 seconds off Lisa Weightman’s 2013 race record to win in 2:25.19. She pocketed a bonus $20,000 on top of her $20,000 winning prize. Only three Aussie women have run faster overseas – Benita Willis, Lisa Ondieki (nee O’Dea) and Lisa Weightman.
Diver’s winning time is just 26 seconds off the world record for a 41-year-old, but she does obliterate the national over-40 record along with Melbourne’s over 40 race record of 2:33.27 set by Olympian Susan Hobson when she won the event in 1999.
Diver becomes the third 41-year-old to win the race. At 41 years 8 months, she is one month older than Hobson, but two months shy of Hong Kong’s Winnie Ng, who won the race in 1994.
Rio Olympian Liam Adams, who runs for Essendon, becomes the first Victorian to win the race since 2007 when he clocks 2:15.13 to defeat Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro (2:16.55). Adams, 32, had finished sixth in 2:14.09 behind Ondoro in his first marathon in Melbourne 2013.
Adelaide’s Michael Roeger, an arm amputee, stepped up to the marathon and smashed the world record for the T46 ambulant category. He finished sixth place overall in 2:23.31.
Box Hill’s John Meagher broke Ron Peters’ over 55 Australian record when he clocked 2:37.14. Peters set the record in 2009 when he ran 2:37.27.
Regular NSW visitor Tracie Edmondson broke Sandy Beach’s over 50 age record when she clocked 3:05.57 to finish ninth female overall.
Rio Olympian Brett Robinson won his second consecutive Melbourne half marathon title in 64.15, while Sunshine Coast’s Mel Panayiotou, a Glasgow Comm Games rep, claimed the women’s title in 75.17.
Ballarat marathoning legend Steve Moneghetti, now 56, clocked 73.56 to win his age category in the half.
Antony Martin becomes the first 90-year-old to compete in our event. He finished the half marathon in 4hours and 12 minutes.
Sydney’s Harry Summers flew around the Asics 10km circuit in 29.23, while 1500m star Melissa Duncan was first female home in 34.19.
Martin Cooper (15.12) and Melissa Baster (19.55) were first into the MCG in the Asics 5km run.
WHAT THE WINNERS SAID
On Jack Rayner who helped pace her to 37km
“He (Rayner) was an absolute legend, I wouldn’t have done it without him. When we were heading up St Kilda Rd the wind was picking up and he just said ‘no worries, I’ll go a bit further’.
“By the time we reached 37km, he said ‘you are fine, you’re killing it, you don’t need me to help you’.”
On Irish world champion Sonia O’Sullivan
“Sonia has really helped me out. She’s given me so much advice on training. She’s been unbelievable.”
On winning and next race
“This has been one of my best years and I really wanted to cap it off with a good marathon. I kind of doubted myself a bit and the crowd was unbelievable. It really lifted me. I’m not sure of my plans yet and whether I’ll be doing Doha (world champs 2019).” Her coaches later confirmed that London 2019 was likely to be her next marathon.
On the crowd support
“This is a big event and to get a win on home soil is massive. The crowd was just fantastic. The last time (Gold Coast Commonwealth Games marathon) the support had a negative effect and I just wanted to bury my head in the ground. But this time I loved it.”
On the Kenyans and his injury late in race
“I was very happy with the pace early and then I made my move at halfway (66minutes), but I paid for it a bit later when the nail on my little toe starting digging into my foot. I’m going to have to get that looked at, because it’s happened in my past few races. I ended up limping home the final 2km. I knew I had a sizeable lead, but Dominic is world class. That’s why I kept looking around to see where he (Ondoro) was.”
More than 500 Spartans (10 Melbourne marathon’s or more) took part. Special congratulations to four athletes who completed their 40th Melbourne Marathon. This group has missed just once race.
Charles Harcoan 78, 6:22.13.
Neville Gardner 73, 6:56.57
Dennis Nish 67, 5:53.09
Bryan Flegg 68, 6:28.19
Cowes-based legend Frank Biviano decided to pull up stumps after completing his 40th Melbourne marathon last year. But the other five Legends, who have run every Melbourne since the race’s inception in 1978, all got through relatively unscathed.
Wayne Thompson 65, 4:29.53
John Dobson 67, 5:39.31
David Foskey 72, 5:46.28
Bruce Hargreaves 65, 5:58.56
Roger Weinstein 68, 6:51.44