|Leading the 1978 Melbourne Marathon|
at about 16km from Kevin Rock, Bill Scott
and Jim Langford (partially obscured)
When I started this blog, the idea of book-ending my marathon career with a sub-3:00 hour marathon in Sunday's Melbourne Marathon had an appealing sense of symmetry. Although the Melbourne Marathon was not my first marathon, it looms large in my marathon life for many reasons. Most importantly because, although I had run faster and was known to the Victorian running cognoscenti, my second place in the first ever Melbourne Marathon, known as the "Big M", meant much more for my running profile and recognition as a serious marathon runner more broadly. It was a good performance in an event that generated a lot of public interest in Melbourne.
|Running in second place around the 30km|
mark in the 1978 Melbourne Marathon
For the early kilometres, there was quite a large leading pack, most of whom were known to me, and I remember moving along comfortably and feeling good. The race was being televised live, and I remember getting a buzz from having the camera truck in front of us, complete with commentators, including Ron Clarke, one of my heroes.
I wasn't considered a contender for the race, but things went well for me and by about 15km I was one of a breakaway bunch of four runners comprising Jim Langford, the 1978 Australian Marathon Champion (2:19), Bill Scott, the 1978 Victorian Marathon Champion (2:16), Kevin Rock, a Kew-Camberwell club-mate and training partner and 4th in the 1978 Australian Marathon Championship, and me. Apparently, Ron Clarke, commentating from the back of the truck, told the live television audience that my style was too bouncy for a good marathon runner and that I would not be there at the business end of the race.
|Finishing the 1978 Melbourne Marathon (2nd, 2:23)|
Bill's time was 2:21:04, and I followed in 2:23:06 for second place, two minutes ahead of Jim. My then wife, Barb, was third in the female race in 3:07. I don't think I won anything of significance for my efforts, but really savoured the minor celebrity status I enjoyed for a short while. Bill, who was also a world class 10000m and cross-country runner, won a trip to North America where he later won the Vancouver Marathon in 2:15. Sadly, he suffered from some serious injuries throughout his running career and I don't think we ever saw how good he might have been.