No Australian runner has broken 2.10 for the marathon since Lee Troop in 2003. That is now 14 years of great runners and teams trying. They have put in the hard yards in training, looked for races with ideal fields and conditions. The result however, has been Aussies have continually come up short for a long time.
Australia has been loaded with middle and long distance talent which have resulted in great performances on the track by our men. Classic cases have been Craig Mottram being a real international contender over the mile, 3000m and 5000m, Collis Birmingham and Ben St Lawrence running brilliantly over in the 3000m- 21km range (gathering national records along the way) and Ryan Gregson being able to mix it with the world’s top 1500m runners and also notching a national record. There have been around a dozen other top international male performers as well.
Michael Shelley has been our shining light in the marathon in recent times with his fine Commonwealth Games victory at Glasgow in 2014. He has a 2.11 PB and has been a consistent performer in the 2.11-2.12 range for quite some time including a recent 2.11.30 top 10 finish at London, 2017.
Have the vast majority of our distance stocks focussed on the track and shied away from serious attempts at the marathon? We at SWEAT SYDNEY/MELBOURNE PACK have been at the cutting edge of Aussie track performances over the last decade. But none of our real talent has made bold attempt at the marathon to make inroads into sub 2.10 territory. By that I mean running consistent high mileage weeks and doing marathon specific training over a long period of time.
Some very hard working marathoners have been training hard in Edithvale with MELBOURNE PACK in 2017. They are putting in big mileage. It is not just big mileage, they are hitting some tough marathon specific targets- e.g. this morning as a team they helped Sammy Gebremichael run a 30km time trial on local roads at 3.14 per km pace. Sammy is a fine role model for Aussie marathoners. He runs 240km weeks and 40km + days are the norm for him- several days a week! Anyway, the bottom line is that there are now some Melbourne Pack runners including Sammy Gebremichael, Dejen Gebresellassie and Dion Finochiaro who are putting it on the line and training hard to be the best marathoners they can possibly be. For any aspiring marathoners who wish to train with a friendly team in a superb location in Melbourne’s south, get in touch. Good luck to all other Aussies also reaching for marathoning heights in various corners of the country and the globe.