Ballarat’s Julian Spence and Bendigo’s Sarah Jalim were victorious in Sunday’s O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon.
Spence won the men’s marathon in 2:35:09, which was just one minute outside last year’s course record set by Jamie Cook.
Spence’s running mate Ash Watson, also of Ballarat, was starting to run down Spence in the final 5km and finished 54 seconds behind the winner.
In third place was well-known Bendigo triathlete and athlete David Meade. Meade won the 45+ category with a time of 2:47:26.
The best runs of the event arguably came from two of the female athletes.
2016 winner Sarah Jalim smashed her course record by nine minutes to run 3:03:24.
Before the 2016 event Jalim had a personal best of 3 hours 29 minutes.
“Sarah, as a 36-year-old, is going into the masters age groups and now must rank as one of the better marathoners in the country,’’ race director Craig Green said.
“If she ran on a flat bitumen course like Gold Coast a 2:55 marathon is easily within her reach.”
The O’Keefe marathon also attracted the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations Masters Athlete of the Year Lavinia Petrie.
The Ringwood-based is the current world record holder in all events from 1500m to the half marathon for the 70-74 age group.
Petrie was heavily favoured to take the golden prize worth more than $6000. The prize rewarded the best age graded athlete, which is the closest athlete for their age to the world record as a percentage.
In this instance Petrie fell short of the world record, with the 73-year-old running a time of 3:52.19. Her win in the age graded prize will see her represent Australia at the Wenlock Olympian Games at Much Wenlock in the United Kingdom in 2018.
“It was an honour to have Lavinia attend the event and run,” Green said. “She is by so far the best athlete for her age group in the world and is an inspiration to many.”
The community gave the decorated athlete a massive cheer as she crossed the line and she also won the female 45+ category.
In the other events, the 2015 Victorian Marathon Champion and Bendigo Harriers athlete Brady Threlfall blitzed the field by almost six minutes to win the 26.2km Axedale to Heathcote in a time of 1:31:10.
Rebecca Cladingboel won the female title in the Axedale to Heathcote in the time of 1:56:56.
Winners of the 45+ Axedale to Heathcote were Bendigo University athlete Russ Jenkins and Bendigo Harriers’ Jill Wilkie.
The Quarter Marathon was taken out by Stuart Knight in a time of 39:22. The female race was won in a course record by South Bendigo athlete Taryn Furletti in a time of 43:22.