Ten years ago if you asked Steve Mallia what his main goals were in life, it definitely wouldn't have been running the world's six major marathons.
Fast forward to 2019 and he has just one more race to go before he will become a Six Star Finisher, an acknowledgment of an athlete's completion of the world's major marathons.
Mallia hasn't been a runner his entire life, the foundation of his passion for marathons started back in 2010 after a trip to his doctor.
"I went to have some tests, I had high blood pressure and my cholesterol was through the roof," Mallia said.
"Basically she said to me if I don't lose weight or change my lifestyle I wouldn't hit 50."
After the possibility of being on blood pressure tablets for the rest of his life, Mallia knew it was time to make a change.
"I'm stubborn, there was no way I was going to be on tablets for the rest of my life, it wasn't going to happen," he said.
Mallia started walking with his father-in-law Ray on a regular basis around Lake Neangar.
Then one day his passion for marathons was born.
"My dog was off its lead and swam to the other side of the lake," Mallia said.
"I had to run right around to the other side of the lake and my father-in-law said to me that was some pretty impressive running, you should run marathons."
If you give Mallia a challenge, he will take it on.
The year was 2012 he had achieved the goal of getting off medication and it was time to embark on his first race, the Melbourne Marathon.
His brother John had just recently died after suffering a heart attack, and Mallia wanted to dedicate the run to him.
"I did a lot of training, it was definitely a challenge. But once I completed it, I was bitten by the marathon bug," Mallia said.
"I was making major life changes and also wanted to set a good example for my children, to become an inspiration for them."
He set himself a challenge, next up was the New York City Marathon, the largest race of its kind in the world.
"I was so happy to have my wife Caroline and father-in-law come over for the race," Mallia said.
"The experience was truly incredible.
"There were millions of people on the sidewalk cheering for all of the runners. It made you feel like a rock star."
The NYC marathon is arguably the most famous of the world's six majors, and its course covers the city's five boroughs at the traditional marathon distance of 42.2km.
The other five marathons are held in London, Berlin, Boston, Chicago and Tokyo.
His favourite so far was the London Marathon.
"The English, you just love them to bits," he laughed.
"It was like being at one giant soccer game. All the fans are offering you pints of beer as you're running while they're all cheering and chanting, it was sensational.
"But also the sites while you're running, you go around one corner and there's Big Ben and then around another and it's the London Bridge. Such iconic sites."
Mallia said there were no words which described the feeling after he crossed the finish line of his first major marathon.
"It's pure raw emotion. I cry after each one," he laughed.
"They are always real eye-openers."
By no means does Mallia consider himself a world champion when it comes to running, but his goal for each marathon is to get better and better which takes a lot of dedication to training.
"I'm always looking for new places to run around Bendigo," he said.
"On Fridays I map out new routes, pick a nice music list and off I go.
"Sometimes I run up One Tree Hill and back to Eaglehawk, through Epsom and down to Crusoe Reserve."
Even though not one of the majors, he also recently ran the Sydney Marathon as a way to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
"I had just lost my sister-in-law Teresa to ovarian cancer and wanted to do whatever I could to help raise some money," he said.
"My initial goal was to raise $2000 but I ended up with about $10,000.
"The support from people in Bendigo was unbelievable.
"Even when I'm out running people will beep their horns and cheer me on as they drive past," he laughed.
None of what Mallia has achieved would be possible without the never-ending support from his family, wife Caroline and his three children Lauren, Nathan and Darcy.
Now just one more marathon remains before Mallia will be awarded the Six Star Finisher medal, Tokyo 2020.
"After Sydney I took a bit of a break and now I'm properly getting back into it all," he said.
"Just thinking about the marathon, I really can't wait."
Mallia will have his entire family with him, who will all be going to Japan for the first time.
"My wife said it was going to be like National Lampoons Vacation," he laughed.
The 2020 Tokyo Marathon will be held on Sunday March 2, which leaves Mallia with approximately five more months of preparation.
After he completes Tokyo he already has his next race in mind, the Everest Marathon.
"I like to dream big," Mallia said.
- 2014 NYC- 4:33:46
- 2016 London - 3:57:35
- 2017 Berlin - 3:42:14
- 2018 Boston - 4:02:54
- 2018 Chicago - 3:58:50
READ MORE: Athletes shine for the Gold Coast Marathon
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