Wangaratta is a smaller township to the East of Melbourne approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes by car on the Hume Highway. Train services also operate to Wangaratta which is a pretty rural town surrounded by vineyards and picturesque country side.
The Wangaratta Marathon and Fun Runs is an annual event held each February and incorporates the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km, 5km and 2km events with the latter three permitting walkers also. All events earn participants a finishers medallion.
It’s a well organized event with most numbers mailed out well in advance with the option of purchasing merchandise. A newsletter is sent out detailing everything from parking, start times, course details and everything else you could need and want to know. Additional email newsletters are sent out in the week and days prior with updates on weather and any changes. A bag drop was available along with free massages, many food and beverage stalls and plenty of first aid support to hose requiring it.
The Marathon commences At 0630 with the Half Marathon follow at 0645 and the 10km at 0700. The course begins at the show grounds and follows a leafy bike/walking path along the river for the majority of the course only entering a small new housing area for a couple of kilometers.
The course has small undulations the entire way which provide both a challenge and respite. It is two 21.1km loops bringing you back to the start/finish area to commence the second loop. The course also contains several turns, which on the course map appear confusing, but the marshaling is brilliantly managed and competitors have a smooth run through the course with no confusion. The nature of the course and start time means conditions are cooler and in the shade.
Water and aid stations are located approximately every 2-2.8 km apart which is perfectly spaced with temperatures in the high 20’s at this time of year. Offerings included water, energy drinks and lollies. Free sandwiches and fruit were plentiful at the finish.
It is a great marathon for beginners and provides a very friendly and supportive environment. Also great for families who specialise in different distances with the variety on offer.
A personal account of my run.
It was a fast start and its good to remember you have 42km to go and a lot can happen. Pull back as I did and stick to your plan. I did and it paid off. I was in third position (female) for the majority of the run and gradually passed the two leading ladies who slowed with fatigue. A slight battle between first and second at the 32km mark but I pulled away.
I didn’t fully comprehend the position I was now in, and instead focused on not wanting to die in the last 5km as my brain was telling me I should. I was muttering incoherently to aid stations. I knew what I wanted to say but it wasn’t coming out as I intended. I was tired. It wasn’t until I was 2km away from finishing, that I was joined by a cycle escort who used a radio to say “get the ribbon ready”; ribbon? What ribbon? Hang on? Oh my I’m in first I get to run through a ribbon at this finish, you are my cycle escort like the police motorbikes at city to casino! Now I panicked, what if the other woman caught me? We can’t be arranging ribbons yet!
Needless to say I finished first I ran through my ribbon and stopped at a drink table and held onto it for dear life. My blood pressure plummeted and I needed a minute! The enormity of what had just occurred seemed surreal! Bonnie running through a ribbon? I shall never forget it.
No PB, but a sub 3:30 time of 3:28:20, first overall and first over 40. Pretty happy.
I loved every aspect of the course, there was not one part of it that I did not enjoy. The scenery including the birds and parklands and the wonderful little undulations. It really was just the perfect course and not at all boring.
I highly recommend a trip to Wangaratta!
Written by: Bonnie Davies
- Website: http://www.wangarattamarathon.com.au/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WangarattaMarathon/