Gone with the wind

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 39th Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival on Sunday October 16.

On a very windy morning, which played havoc for all runners, Elwood PE teacher Virginia Moloney and 30-year-old Sydneysider Tom Do Canto took out the marathon to claim Australian titles and also the first prize of $20,000.

While many runners struggled to record PB’s on a day when wind gusts of 40km/h were recorded, Moloney slashed seven minutes off her previous best to finish in 2:34:27 and improve her chances of making the world championship team for London in August.

Raised on a dairy farm in Garvoc alongside her ten siblings, Moloney has blossomed as a runner since moving to Melbourne and joining fellow teacher Liam Delaney’s group in 2014.

She now lives just near Junction Oval and was inspired by so many school pupils cheering her on at the Elwood Beach turnaround at 25km.

“It was so nice to see them all out there and to be running on a course that I knew to a tee. I absolutely have the world championships in my sights, now. I’ve got the monkey off my back, and have put a time on the board that I am proud of. I’ve marked myself as someone that deserves to be here now,” Moloney said.

“It’s a fast course and despite the wind, there was no reason that we should have had a slow race, so we decided to stick to the plan and run to the best of my ability in the conditions. I ran as well as I could when the wind was against me and then let the wind carry me on when it was on my tail.

“I certainly didn’t get a feeling of elation when I finished last year. I thought then, why does everyone love running into the ‘G, but this time it was amazing. It was an awesome experience.”

Moloney finished nearly seven minutes clear of Victorian Sinead Diver (2:34:27) and Queensland’s Victoria Beck (2:46:02).

Do Canto, running his first marathon, clocked 2:20:53, and came just nine weeks after the birth of his first son, Leo.

The 30-year-old Sydney podiatrist was among a leading group of four with Matthew Cox, Duer Yoa and Isaias Beyn when a competitor in the half marathon, Ben Moreau, overtook them into the wind during the stretch between 32 and 35km along St Kilda Road. All four tried to latch onto the back of Moreau like cyclists would into the wind, but after 34km Do Canto was the only runner left and he paid tribute to Moreau post-event.

“The wind was really brutal so it was crucial to have that support from Ben (Moreau). I clung on to him and as we split off to come home I just said to him, you legend,” Do Canto said.

Another debutant, Central Coast’s Jack Colreavy, benefitted from the wind buffer provided by Olympian Liam Adams, and moved through to claim second in 2:23:16, while Cox was third in 2:24:04.

The event once again saw both the largest half & full marathon fields in Australia this year.

In other highlights on a huge day:

  • Olympian Eloise Wellings made the late decision to run the half-marathon event after initial entering for the 10km event, with the change proving wise, winning in 1:14:18. Ethiopian refugee Makda Haji was second in 1:14.49.
  • Another Rio Olympian Brett Robinson was first male home in the half in 1:06:42, to finish 16 seconds ahead of last year’s Melbourne Marathon winner Brad Milosevic.
  • King Island’s Stewart McSweyn won the 10km in 30.46 and NSW star Bridey Delaney was first female in 35.05 as 7038 entrants crossed the finish line.
  • Postcards presenter Brodie Harper completed her first marathon on schedule in 4:18.07.
  • All 8 remaining Spartan Legends completed the course for the 39th consecutive time led home by 63-year-old Wayne Thompson, who clocked 3:33.31.
  • Parramatta Park Run star Fiona Yates was the first female over 40 and finished 10th overall in 2:53.29.
  • Sunbury’s Rob Follett was the first over-50 runner across the line in 2:55.12.
  • While no age group records fell, Septuagenarians Tom Callander (3:51.07) and Anne Boyd (5:09.49).

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