Moneghetti praises ‘must do’ marathon as thousands hit the streets for the Reef


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Susan Crowe takes out the women's marathon event at the Tropical Journey's Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival yesterday. IMAGE: Howard Salkow - Newsport.

LEGENDARY Australian long-distance runner Steve Moneghetti (3hrs31) was spot on when he said, after finishing third in the Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon yesterday in Port Douglas, it’s the tough and demanding conditions that quickly “find you out”.

Speaking after finishing behind winner Chris Vadas (3:20) and China’s Jiancan Chen (3:28), the 54-year-old veteran champion said this is not an event where you can improve your time.

“These are tough conditions, and if you’re not prepared, do not take in enough fluid and accept that parts of the course will be extremely tough – especially the Bump Track – you can really hurt. There are no short cuts, it’s that simple.

“The stifling conditions are not made for record times. You have to overcome the elements. This is what makes this a challenging event. I give full praise to everyone who competed, irrespective of the distance,” he said.

Moneghetti, who is honoured with the 42.2km marathon named in his honour, jokingly said after the race that perhaps it can be changed to the “Steve Moneghetti Memorial”.

The winner of the 74km ultra marathon, Anthony Ralph, who finished the distance in 7hrs28, was quick to endorse Moneghett’s comments.

“It was extremely tough out there. In fact, I did not know what to expect and I experienced the good with the bad and I had my ups and downs. I should have had a map with me which would have given me a better idea of what I was facing.

“It was gruelling along the Bump Track and this made it all the more harder. But I drank a lot, took salt tablets to avoid cramp and I am delighted to have won my second ultra. My first was over 64km from Kuranda to Port Douglas,” he said.

The Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival attracted close on 2,000 runners, a 40 per cent increase on last year. It featured the following events: 74km JCU Ultra Marathon; 42.195km Steve Moneghetti Adventure Marathon; 21.095km Sheraton Mirage Resort Half Marathon; 10km Newsport Daily; 5km Calypso Fun Run; and the 2.3km Junior Challenge.

Susan Crowe, fifth in the world at the Hawaiian Ironman, won the women’s marathon in 3hrs59, eclipsing Dominque Ryan (4:08) and Lisa Fraser (4:15).  

Jess Trengove, who has excelled over 1500 metres, 5000 metres, 10,000 metres, half marathon, and the marathon, won the 10km event.

For seven-year-old, Archie Reid, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, it was a real proud day and he could not stop smiling after completing the five kilometre run. Now living in Cairns, he and his mum celebrated at the finish line and by all accounts he’ll be back over the next few years and will compete over longer distances.

Young Archie joined many of his peers who ran in the lesser distances which augur well not only for the marathon festival, but for the sport itself.

Organising an event of this magnitude is a huge undertaking and the organisers, the more than 200 volunteers, sponsors, relevant road, police, traffic and ambulance services, ensured this was a memorable and successful day.

IMAGE GALLERY: Howard Salkow - Newsport.