And Then There Were Three

Those runners who complete 10 Melbourne Marathons or more in their lifetime become members of the distinguished “Spartan” cub, but there has been a gradually dwindling group of “Legend” marathoners who can lay claim to having completed all 44 events since the inaugural race in 1978.

Sadly two of the five remaining Spartan Legends have advised that for medical reasons, they cannot take part in this year’s Melbourne Marathon.

Many runners will know of Bruce ‘Digger’ Hargreaves who has made the annual pilgrimage from Brisbane for several decades.

The 69-year-old will have a heart valve replacement surgery this week and doctors have advised him not to travel for several weeks, let alone run another marathon.

Bruce has run more than 150 marathons overall and has been regular at the Comrades Marathon in South Africa over the years.

Bruce was 25 when Monash University workmate showed him an entry form with just five weeks to go to the big day in 1978.

“I was running 5km three times a week back then, but he offered me a carton of beer if I finished. I made halflway in 89 minutes and finished in 4hrs 34min, so you can figure out what happened,” Hargreaves said.

But Hargreaves became hooked on running and has been a regular pacer and facebook influencer for our event.

We wish him well with his procedure. He plans to be back running our event next year.

Another Spartan Legend, Roger Weinstein, has been seriously ill this year with a pancreas disorder and has also been advised to call it a day.

Weinstein, 72, took up running in 1975 after being inspired by watching John Newcombe play Jimmy Connors in the Australian Open final and joined South Melbourne Harriers and back in 1982 broke three hours in the infamous Bill Rodgers year. 

He has been a proud Legend for many years and a few years back admitted “it had got to the stage where it would take more courage not to run the marathon than actually doing it.”

The withdrawal of Weinstein and Hargreaves leaves David Foskey, John Dobson and Wayne Thompson as the only runners to have completed every race to have entered the event again this year.

Dobson, 71, had prostate surgery last year but has bounced back and recently ran both the Noosa and Brisbane Marathons.

Thompson, 69, was first home in his age group last year clocking 3hrs29min and is still in great shape.

Foskey, 76, is still a regular runner.

We wish all three well in their endeavours this year and if you spot them on the course in their distinctive yellow Spartan Legend tops, give them a cheer.

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