10 Most Memorable Melbourne Marathons #1

The countdown of the top 10 most memorable Melbourne races continues with our panel of experts selecting 2013 at No.1


The Year: 2013

The Winners: Dominic Ondoro (Ken) 2:10.47, Lisa Weightman (Vic) 2:26.05.

The Race

LISA Weightman overcame a serious bout of nerves in her local race before going on to smash the Melbourne Marathon race record by more than six minutes.

The 34-year-old from Preston trailed Kenyan Eunice Kales by nearly 90 seconds at the 25km mark before catching her near the Arts Centre and going on to win in a personal best of 2:26:05.

“I was certainly the most nervous I’ve ever been before a race,’’ she said.

“I think I put a fair bit of pressure on myself to run well because it was my home race and for the first time I ran with the expectation of victory. I went out at the pace I wanted to go out at but when she (Kales) kicked away at 10km, I was a bit worried. I figured if she wins it, so be it, but this is my threshold.”

Kales reached halfway in 71 minutes, impressing Weightman’s husband and training partner Lachlan McArthur.

“We were thinking, wow, she (Kales) should be running Berlin or New York, not Melbourne,” he said.

But Weightman managed to gradually reel Kales in, passing her near the 40km mark.

“It was just amazing to run into the ’G with my family there. The best feeling was crossing the line and my nephew (Thomas, 7) came rushing up to me and gave me a huge hug,” Weightman said.

Her time was the fourth fastest time ever by an Australian female and with a $20,000 bonus for the race record, Weightman claimed $35,000 to more than justify her decision to skip the world titles in Moscow in August.

“This will take a lot of pressure off for Glasgow. The VIS covers my medical and travel expenses, but other than that I fund myself. That’s why I work full-time,” she said.

On a day of race records, Kenyan Dominic Ondoro charged home in the second half of the race to win in 2:10.47, knocking 17 seconds off Japhet Kipkorir’s 2010 time.

The 26-year-old from Kisii in Kenya’s west broke clear of a group of seven runners including Essendon’s Liam Adams at the 30km mark.

“We went through half way in 66 minutes and I was thinking too slow, but I’m happy now,” Ondoro said.

Ondoro said he would celebrate with a cup of tea and McDonalds and then return home and buy about half an acre of land with his prize money.

Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi finished second in 2:11.40 but was disappointed he didn’t complete an Australian treble, having won Sydney in 2012 and Gold Coast in 2013.

Adams faded to sixth in 2:14.09 but his time was an A qualifier for Glasgow.

“It’s my first marathon and I’ll learn from it but maybe I was a little bit too ambitious early,” he said.

Newcastle veteran Scott Westcott, paced by Martin Dent, was seventh in 2:14.21.

“I think I’m ranked fourth in Australia, so that’s my last marathon unless I get a call from the selectors,’’ Westcott said.

Soon after the elite runners finished, Melbourne was hit by a severe downpour that created havoc for many of the record 6813 finishers.

Flooding around Swan St Bridge forced organisers to reduce the 5.7km event to just 3km.

But prior to the deluge, Kenyan Wilfred Murgor (61.57) and Box Hill’s Nikki Chapple (71.23) won the half marathon, both race records.

The 10km race was won by Mitch Brown (30.29) and NSW’s Bridey Delaney (34.12), but fifth home was marathon legend Steve Moneghetti, running 31:27 which was the unofficial world record for a 51-year-old.

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, while Sandy Beach was 26th female overall in 3:07.37 – an age record for the 50-54year olds.

Why it was memorable

Mona says:  “Lisa Weightman’s run was simply stunning.”

Turney says: “An amazing and gutsy run by Lisa that had to be seen to be believed. Showed that world class time can be run in Melbourne

Muirden says: “We knew we had a fast course and finally we could back it up with figures. 2013 is still the largest marathon ever in Australia in terms of finishers … until this year maybe.”

Our panellists:

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

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