Marathon Runners of the World: tell us your PB.

It’s Melbourne Marathon week, so many enthusiasts are planning an assault on a personal Everest. Some first-timers will be nervously anticipating the task in front of them. Seasoned marathoners will be hoping for a PB if their training program has been carefully planned, and holds up on race day. Others with a few more years on the clock will be just hoping to defy their age and keep within a (self-defined) respectable target time. Will conditions be favourable – cool, light winds, preferably overcast, maybe even a hint of drizzle? I’m not running this year, my most recent attempt at the distance was the Great Ocean Road, May 2012, but I’ll be with the runners in spirit, and hope that all will succeed at least in terms of a favoured mantra of mine: There are three categories of winners in the marathon, first across the line*, anyone who finishes, anyone who makes it to the start line**.

I recently learned that a distinguished knacker, Gareth Andrews, has added to his accomplishments on the football field at Geelong and Richmond (and in the board room at Kardinia Park) with a 3 hours 3 minutes 27 seconds PB in the Melbourne Marathon. When I asked him about this feat, he indicated that this was his best of six completed races.

I recall that there are others in our community who have gone the distance, including at least a few who are in the elect, the sub-three hour club. With this in mind, I thought it was worth initiating a thread, which serves to establish an Almanac Marathon Hall of Fame. My lowly spot in the ranks is based on my PB, 3.10.18. While my particular focus is the Melbourne event, I obviously welcome comments from those who have participated in marathons elsewhere – the more exotic the better.

* Different categories of age and gender allow more than a single first over the line.

** The implication is that some-one who begins the event has undergone a gruelling training program, for this is an event where only the foolhardy attempt it without a solid preparation.


About Peter Fuller

Male, 60 something, idle retiree; Blues supporter; played park/paddock standard football in Victoria's western district until mid teens, then Melbourne suburbs; umpired for approximately 20 years (still engaged on light duties - occasionally fieldie, regularly on the line). I thank the goddess at least weekly, that I was born and grew up in the southern States of Oz, so that Aussie Rules was my game from earliest childhood. I still love it with a passion, although I can't pretend to a thorough understanding of the tactical complexities of the contemporary game.


  1. Great to have a thread named in my honour. Shandy the Wonder Dog and I plan to double our 2 nightly laps of Beaufort Park, and go the marathon 4 lap trip on the weekend. But I doubt we will break the 3 hour barrier for the trip to Coles and back. I have a habit of refusing to pass the fallen logs at the Civic Hotel.

  2. The Melbourne Marathon.
    On the Gold Coast holidaying, caught up with friends who ran. I preferred to have a coldy. I was 30. On Surfers Paradise Beach, I watched them head of for a run. Another xxxx please. They came back looking well. I was on my 3rd.
    I relented after day 3 . My first run – 5 minutes south along the beach. Turned back slightly short of Burleigh. A 10 minute run, and more xxxx.
    Well, from there I progressed. 10 melbourne Marathons. First 3 hours 40, next 9 under 3 hours, best time 2.41.
    Honoured to be a Spartan,
    Thanks Pete Ryan and Scrivo for that 10 min run at Surfers.
    Another xxxx please.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great Topic Peter it is a huge regret I never ran a Marathon did the 12 k City Bay in
    42. 14 and used to do the 100 plus Ks a week training which is required but didn’t want to miss any games of Footy so never ran 1 something I have regretted for a long time alas after 9 knee ops and a 10 th imminent it is no longer a option as we all no playing Footy is the best thing in the world until you get older but wouldn’t swap the friendships made for anything but for any 1 thinking of running a Marathon in the words of the
    Immortal John Kennedy just do !

  4. Not a marathon but in November I will attempt to break 15 mins running up the 88 floors of the Eureka Tower in Melbourne. Got held up due to a team member who struggled last year and did it in 15.30, determined to get up the 1600+ steps in 14 something

    In a fire escape stairwell, with other runners, no ventilation. You remind yourself of the view at the top and the cause you are raising money for


  5. I’m running my second-ever marathon on Sunday.
    The first was about 27 years ago, and I finished in 3:20.
    Bit upset with the time back then, but will be lucky to get within an hour of it now!

    I had been running half-marathons at a time that suggested I could run sub-3 hours, but the full distance is a whole different kettle of fish.

  6. Hey Peter,
    Lowly spot on the ranks!!!! Are you joking?
    Would just like to enter my details into the Alamanac Marathon Hall of Fame:
    I have run (jogged) the Melbourne Marathon on 4 occasions:
    1999: 3hrs 40mins 35sec, (broke down and wept afterwards),
    2000: 4hrs 10mins 54sec,
    2002: 3hrs 52mins 48sec,
    2010: 3hrs 57mins 42sec, (extremely proud, but vowed “never again”).
    If there were time bonuses for weight carried, I reckon I won the whole damn thing a couple of times.
    Darren “Smokie” Dawson.

  7. 1998: 3hrs 19mins (1.5 hrs at halfway, hit the wall)

    … Never again – or maybe I should plan a Wally and run it again in 2025!

  8. Peter Fuller says

    Thanks for comments/contributions, and please keep them coming.
    JD a woman friend of mine referred to the year she ran two marathons, her first and last (that was a single event).
    Smokie, plaudits that you fronted again after the first experience.
    Wally, good luck, Sunday, I hope that you exceed your expectations.
    Sean, I’ve enormous admiration for anyone who takes on those stairwell runs. I have never run further than thirteen levels in my old city office, and that wasn’t in any critical sense against the clock. As you say, there is a serious issue of oxygen debt, climbing and in a poorly ventilated environment. If you’re looking for anyone to kick the tin (for a modest amount) I’ll happily respond if you contact me.
    I love stories like yours, about people who not only pick up a fitness activity which they didn’t feel capable of, but then excel at it. You’re well and truly club-house leader with nine sub threes. Superb effort!
    I recall two examples that bear some relationship to yours. A bloke I knew (he’s died in the last couple of years), Ken Matchett, took up running in middle age. He became a Melbourne Spartan Legend, and established a raft of age group world records for the marathon, ultra marathons, and other distance events.
    I was also inspired by the phenomenal long-distance swimming feats of Des Renford. He discovered the activity at which he was the best in the world when he was almost fifty. He had only done a bit of casual swimming and life-saving as a younger bloke.
    John, As for your remark about your cars, I recall feeling a bit chastened in the let down after one marathon run on the traditional course one-way Frankston to the City. I remember remarking to my Mum, that next time I wanted to travel from Frankston to Melbourne CBD, I’d take advantage of the adequate rail service.

  9. I’d be in Melbourne if it wasn’t for knee surgery, a torn meniscus I picked up when training for the Gold Coast marathon in February this year. Might be able to start running at the end of October.
    I’ve never done a marathon but have done plenty of halves, best in 134.10.
    I plan to run at the Gold Coast and in Melbourne next year.
    Good luck to all who start. You worked hard to get there.

  10. Yvette Wroby says

    Back in the early 70’s, at the school marathon, I was not the athletic kid. There were kids who played all the sports and were good at it. I was clumsy and afraid of balls of any description aimed at me or my vicinity. When we all had to run a marathon, was it 3 miles, who knows, I just thought to myself, OK,you can do this, just don’t stop. So I didn’t. All the fast athletic girls whizzed past, and I just kept plodding along, and plodding and I found myself still going when they were out of breath and stopped and I passed them and came 3rd. I have NEVER been placed in anything ever, but I will always remember my tortoise refrain and my 3rd in a Marathon.

    I am now glad the world can here of this monumental personal and sporting achievement and hope it’s accepted without times, distances, dates etc.

    from tortoise Yvette

  11. Stay tuned……last lead up run last week was a local half marathon completed in oppressive conditions in 1:57 (51st out of 94). Bit worried though about the weather, 16 degrees on Sunday is a sharp change from the 32-33 degrees each day I’ve been used to.

  12. Anyone who finishes a marathon has my respect. About 400m sees me out.

  13. Very kind Peter F, modest amounts only

    For an awesome organisation called Whitelion, helping youth at risk


  14. Peter Fuller says

    Done, happy to support Whitelion, which seems to be a very worthy charity. I’m also gratified to see that you have some residual affection for the Blues, as that fine citizen Glenn “Bolt” Manton had a major role in the establishment of the organisation.
    Dips, the only reason we run longer distances is because we couldn’t keep up with the Stawell Gift contenders over the short course, as Yvette’s memory demonstrated. A mate of mine was a sprinter, but took up pole vaulting, I think because then he only had to run flat chat for about 40 metres. He eventually started doing the long slow distance to fight off an incipient middle-age spread.

    Yvette, I loved your story; it’s amazing the sense of empowerment a child experiences, when s/he realises that they can do something they previously felt was beyond their capacity. It gives them the strength to tackle other daunting tasks activities in different fields of endeavour.
    Mick, I reckon you’ll be fine; the cooler conditions will put a real spring in your step. I also recall your previous posts about running, so I’ve no doubt you will acquit yourself well. Good luck, have a good one.
    Matt, your attitude suggests that you will come back ready to take on the challenge again. I had my most serious injury-caused break from running almost three years ago. (The injury wasn’t running-related) After five months off, and as I was well over 60, I had real doubts about making it back. Happily, I was able to run a 13k fun run 9 months after surgery, and I managed another marathon close to a PW) a few months later. I haven’t been running as much this year, but hope to round out the year by doing the half at Marysville next month. Best of luck with your recovery and return to the roads.

  15. Steve Fahey says

    Great topic Peter and good luck to all those who are participating tomorrow – I nearly wrote competing, but think the former is a better descriptor, the main competition is with yourself and the little person between your ears.

    For those that have run marathons, you can do a glory search at

    My history in Melbourne Marathons is 1987 3:27:44 1988 2:59:51 1989 3:08:44

    I was lying in a hospital bed on Grand Final day 1985 a few days after a knee reconstruction incurred from F-Grade amateur footy, proving you can do them at any level. I was in a fair amount of pain post-op and was lifted by watching the performances that day of Buckenara (in the reserves GF) and Salmon, who had both returned from knee recos. That evening I reflected on the fact that I had always thought that running a marathon would be a great challenge and committed to doing so.

    Two years and two weeks later I ran my first and it nearly killed me – I had missed about 6 weeks with pretty significant shin splints 2-3 months prior and really struggled the last 7 kms, but felt a great sense of achievement amidst exhaustion and nausea. I couldn’t walk unaided to the car at the end of the race.

    I was in great shape the following year and sub 3 hours was a genuine possibility. I got to half-way in 85.40, a few minutes outside my half-marathon PB, and was well-placed before hitting the wall about 6 kms out. I struggled through the last few kms and when I hit the 250 metres to go sign my watch ticked over 2.59.00. I was fuelled by equal parts adrenalin and pure panic and tried to lift my shuffling concrete-like legs to a reasonable pace. I was absolutely shattered when I didn’t quite get there and got to the line with the big clock at the finish at 3.00.06. Little did I know that a few weeks later my official certificate arrived and listed me at 2.59.51 – I asked a knowledgeable running friend who explained that apparently there had been a synchronicity mismatch between the starting gun and the starting of the clock at the finish. I never explored it officially because it didn’t matter that much, but I guess it would have been nice to experience the euphoria at the end of the race.

    The following year I was in sub 2.55 shape but picked up a virus a few days before the race. I was 50/50 whether to run or not, but decided to run as there weren’t too many immediate alternatives -the old South Melbourne marathon used to be run 4-6 weeks later but was a smallish event with a 4 lap format which wasn’t that attractive at the time. I struggled from a long way out but finished in 3.08.44. I started to have some issues with my reconstructed knee a little while later and that was the end of m y marathon career, turning to cycling.

    Great memories to reflect upon and I was always inspired by the consistency of my one-time colleague Peter Fuller who was always going out for a run, often with another colleague, his fellow Blues supporter Mark Stewart who later coached Steve Hooker to pole vault victory in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

  16. Peter Fuller says

    What a tale of your marathon triumph, one I’m delighted that the post has drawn out.
    I’m concerned that a less generous person than you might draw the obvious inference that I was less interested in work than running.
    I actually saw Steve H. In a cafe last week, and introduced him to the little marvel of our first grandchild, aged 11 months. I think it will be a defining moment in the little chap’s life, the day he met an Olympic gold medallist.

  17. Peter F, your kind donation greatly appreciated.

    Yes, Glenn is great with helping kids at risk, he co-founded Whitelion and I’ve had a little to do with him although he stepped away from operational involovement a while ago. He has watched it grow into a fine and caring organisation. not bad for an ex Bomber!


  18. Nowhere near a marathon, i know. I completed RunGeelong today along with thousands of others. Perfect day, bay showing off a treat. I managed to run the shorter 6.3kms option in my first serious run for 30 years or so. Happy with my time of 38.35. I was going to go back into retirement but might saddle up again next year if the dodgy knee, hip, shin, ankle will allow. All funds go to the Geelong Hospital.

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