What a magical day for the 36th running of the Medibank Melbourne Marathon.
This year the race lost its national marathon status, but gained more credibility both in Australia and overseas with phenomenal achievements and by far the best race we have ever had in history.
Thank you to all those 34,000 who took part in the five events and especially well done to those 6850 who completed the marathon to make our event the largest marathon in Australian history.
Among many, many highlights:
· Australia’s best distance runner Lisa Weightman overcame a serious bout of nerves in her local race and a really talented Kenyan runner Euince Kales to smash the Melbourne Marathon race record by more than six minutes. Her time of 2:26.05 eclipsed the 2:32.20 set by Mulu Seboka in 2010 and also was more than four minutes faster than what Kerryn McCann ran to win the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The only females to have run a faster time in Australia were the three medallists at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
· Kenyan female Eunice Kales went through halfway more than a minute ahead of Lisa in 71.05 and was only caught by Lisa just before turning at Flinders St Station for the final 2km. She also smashed the record with her 2:27.19.
· Dominic Ondoro also claimed a $20,000 bonus when he broke Japhet Kipkorir’s 2:11.04 race record with a huge negative split to come home in 2:10.47. Like Lisa, he won $35,000 overall and plans to buy an acre of land in his home city of Kisii in western Kenya.
· The lead marathon group of seven runners included local debutant Liam Adams. They went through halfway in 66 minutes and they were still all together at 30km and received a phenomenal cheer from half marathon field going the other way. Adams, 27, finished sixth in 2:14.09 – an A-qualifier for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
· Newcastle’s Scott Westcott also had a sensational run and paid tribute to Australian Olympian Martin Dent who paced him to 30km. Westcott was closing on Adams and finished in 2:14.21 – also an A-qualifier for Glasgow. At 37, Westcott announced his retirement from marathons post-race, but if the selectors pick him, he’ll make Glasgow his swansong.
· A record 6850 finished the marathon, 620 more than last year’s Australian record. To put that in perspective Gold Coast had 4830 finishers this year and Sydney 3389.
· We had a number of age group records set on the day and these will still need to be ratified. Japanese visitor Yoshiki Miyake smashed the record for 75-year olds when he finished in 4:12.05. Bob Lane also ran a phenomenal 3:09.17 to be first home in the 65-69 age group – another age group records. Sandy Beach was 26th female overall in 3:07.37 – an age record for the 50-54year olds.
· Our own veteran superstar Antony Martin, who was running his 35th Melbourne race at the age of 85, clocked 6:18.44.
· Ian Rohde was first wheelchair home in 2:12.57, while four-time winner Ian Gainey completed his 25th Melbourne Marathon.
· Kenyan Wilfred Murgor (61.57) and Box Hill’s Nikki Chapple (71.23) won the Flight Centre half marathon, both race records.
· The Coffee Club 10km race was won by Mitch Brown (30.29) and NSW’s Bridey Delaney (34.12).
·Fifth home in the 10km was marathon legend Steve Moneghetti, running 31:27 which is an unofficial world record for a 51-year-old.
All 10 Spartan Legends managed to complete their 36th Melbourne race, including Peter Ryan, who had open heart surgery in May.