Paralympian Michael Roeger and Australia’s form female road runner, Sinead Diver have capped record-breaking years with momentous performances in the Medibank Melbourne Marathon this morning.
For Roeger it was his third world record in 2018 and Diver became the fourth fastest Australian marathoner in history.
Sinead Diver just keeps getting better, her series of fabulous performance over 10km, 12km and half marathon in 2018 transferred to the premier road distance, the marathon this morning in Melbourne, when she clocked the superb time of 2:25.19 hours, to rocket from 13th to fourth fastest Australian ever.
She passed greats like two-time Commonwealth gold medallist Kerryn McCann and dual Commonwealth medallist Jess Trengove.
In the leadup Diver was not confident of a great outcome.
“I was so worried about the weather leading in but Nic (Bideau) and Tim (Crosbie) were trying to assure me I had pacemakers and not to worry about it,” Diver said.
With the assistance of the pace makers, she passed the half-way right on track in 72:36, with a projected final time of 2:25.12.
“They did an absolutely fantastic job so thanks to Jack (Rayner), Stewy (McSweyn) and Max. I wouldn’t have got that time without them,” she said modestly.
She also broke the race record and recorded the fifth fastest time on Australian soil and ran the fastest time by an Australian on home soil.
In contrast, the health in the leadup for Michael Roeger had not been ideal, but that didn’t stop him achieving an amazing time of 2:23.31 hours on debut. The T46 (arm amputee) three-time Paralympic medallist, was chasing the recently broken world marathon record of 2:26.44.
He started well and passed the mid-way point in 71:14, on target for 2:22.28 – but on debut would be hit the mythical ‘wall’?
“The body was going perfect through 21 km,” said Roeger. “I had Philo Saunders (his coach) there, then he pull-out. Then I had to focus on the next 10 to 15k, then the race got going in that last 12k. I was cramping up around 37k and had to have a little stop and stretch.”
It looked like it was going to be a tough haul to the finish.
“I was in survival mode for the last 4k, fortunately I pulled through and finished three minutes under the world record. The body is probably just not strong enough.”
Roeger placed an amazing sixth in the race.
“I’m over the moon to get the world record and finish on the MCG. It has been 10 years of work really, it is the third world record in the year, it is a pretty special feeling.”
Through the journey his coach, Philo Saunders has been alongside him all the way.
“He has been with me for all three world records but to have him there on the road with me was special. I could never do this without Philo, and every ones’ kind words.”
He is keen to continue in the gruelling event.
“Now I have the first one out of the way, it is back to the drawing board. Maybe London next April, and really try and have a crack at that. I’ll need to get some more kilometres in the legs and get stronger. I’m really enjoying the running this year and the longer stuff.”
The men’s marathon was won by Rio Olympian Liam Adams, who was on target for 2:12, but slowed over the later stages with a sore toe, to claim the victory in 2:15.13.
Men: 1. Liam Adams 2:15.13, 2. Dominic Ondoro 2:16.54, 3. William Chebon 2:18.05
Women: 1. Sinead Diver 2:25.19, 2. Rochelle Rodgers 2:47.04, 3. Erchana Murray-Bartlett 2:54.09
Men: 1. Brett Robinson 64:15, 2. Louis Mcafee 66:11, 3. Matt Hudson 66:21
Women: 1. Melanie Panayiotou 75:17, 2. Camille Buscomb 77:28, 3. Jayne Grebinski 80:08
Men: 1. Harry Summers 29:23, 2. Jordy Williamsz 30:18, 3. Paul Robinson 30:24
Female: 1. Melissa Duncan 34:19, 2. Henrietta Lawrence 34:45, 3. Charlotte Wilson 35:14
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia
Images courtesy of VTWO