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Date: Monday, November 2, 2015

From: Janet

Two Legs the Norm in Melb

On 18 October 2015, five Griffith Ferals made their way to the start line of the 37th Melbourne Marathon. The temperature, about 12°C and overcast, outstanding conditions for the race. The skies looked threatening, but it stayed cool, with no rain. We found our pace groups and waited anxiously for the starter’s gun to sound. No matter how much training you’ve done, there’s always a nagging doubt that it hasn’t been enough and you’re going to hit the wall well before the finish! Nearly 7,000 were participating this year, among them Adam Johnson attempting his first Melbourne Marathon, Lena Sergi and Richard West taking part for the second time, Janet Mazzarolo running my third Melbourne and Feral legend Teresa Burgess was lining up for the 13th time.

The starting gun went off at 7am and we headed out along Brunton Avenue and onto St Kilda Road, reaching the 5km and 10km marks in a lap around Albert Park. We then turned onto Fitzroy Street towards the long , long scenic route on Beaconsfield Parade in St Kilda, along the bay for about 12kms. We had a nice tail wind down to the first turnaround on Bay Street and were then greeted by a bit of a fresh sea breeze down along to the next turnaround near the 25km mark before heading back into the city. There was a slight incline past around 30kms, then back along Fitzroy Street and the hard slog back along St Kilda road. The sun managed to break through the clouds around 10am, but it wasn’t too warm, yet. At 35kms, under a bridge, there were few runners in rough shape, being treated by paramedics, but the only thing worrying me was my screaming quads. By this time, most of us were just hanging on to finish, when a mere 7kms to go seems like 20! At about kilometres 37 to 40, we ran through the botanical gardens where cheering spectators tried to spur us on and a darling child handing out much appreciated icy poles, which just got me through the last 2 kilometres. Turning right out of the gardens, we finally ran back onto Brunton Avenue, along the train tracks, to head into the tunnel leading into the MCG. I could hear the crowd cheering inside from about 800 meters away, and suddenly you feel no pain or exhaustion as you emerge onto the grounds of the MCG to run a little over half a lap, the sun shining and spectators cheering – it’s such an awesome feeling, almost worth the pain.

All five Ferals finished on their two, but aching legs: Adam Johnson with an amazing time of 2.55, finished 125th overall, 19th in his age group and 115 out of males. He kept his pace under 4mins/km for an incredible 20km. Lena Sergi was the next fastest with a time of 3.48. I stayed with Lena for all of 2 kilometres, at the start, but she was feeling much fitter and ran on to find the 4 hour pace group and she kicked their butts! Teresa Burgess was close behind Lena and wasn’t feeling the magic on the day but despite this, finished in a very respectable 3.50. Next out of the Feral contingent was Richard (Charlie) West who got to train with “Angels”. I ran with Richard for about 10km, but I couldn’t keep pace with him and had a rest at a water stop around the 30km mark, and he went on ahead to finish in 4.24, a terrific effort. I was just happy to finish after doing most of my training with one niggling ache or another, in 4.31. Not my fastest, but not my slowest, so all good! A fabulous weekend was had, along with the Half Marathon girls, Di Keenan, Lyn Evans, Wendy Minato, Nicole Dehnert, lone 10km racer, Sandra Altin and Rita McIver-Fascianelli, who was out of the running with an injury but was a super cheer squad. Thanks to Lena for the incredibly delicious pasta dinner the night before and to Teresa who knows the best pubs in Melbourne!