Eyeing off a dozen
Cobram runner about to compete in 12th Melbourne Marathon
FOR 11 successive years Cobram’s Marie Doyle, 50, has pushed her body to its absolute limits in the Melbourne Marathon.
On Sunday, she will attempt to complete the dozen in the gruelling 42 km run, which draws runners from across the world.
For the average punter, running through a wall of exhaustion does not equate to an enjoyable experience but to the mother, it has been become a part of her identity.
‘‘I guess now it’s a bit of a routine, it gets to this time of the year and I think it’s time to go again and do the Melbourne Marathon,’’ Doyle said.
She said marathon running has addictive lures and the hunger only intensified with the crossing of each finish line.
‘‘At first the big drawcard for me was to become a Spartan; which requires you to do 10 Melbourne Marathons,’’ Doyle said.
‘‘That was the first goal I set my sights on achieving. I didn’t think I’d keep going after that but I keep coming back.’’
Being recognised as a Spartan is like a badge of honour for veteran marathon runners, with those classified as one standing out like a beacon in the masses by wearing a specific singlet appropriate to how many Melbourne Marathon’s they have completed.
Her best time in the marathon is three hours and 42 minutes, which she incredibly achieved two years in a row in a year she cannot recall.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to break that mark but I haven’t yet and I don’t know if I ever will,’’ she said.
Along the way there have been plenty of highs but also testing moments, none more so than in 2016.
‘‘Probably the one that meant the most to me was in 2016 when I did my 10th one, but that year I also lost my 16-year-old nephew to epilepsy who passed away in his sleep from a seizure,’’ Doyle said.
‘‘That was very difficult but I decided to set my sights on raising money and awareness for the Epilepsy Foundation and managed to raise $13 000.’’
Doyle said during that harrowing period, running acted as her therapy — a coping mechanism which took her mind away from her troubles and gave her focus.
‘‘That was definitely the most meaningful marathon I’ve ran and the hardest at the same time. It was very tough for the family but that’s how I dealt with it and I guess I just wanted to make a difference,’’ she said.
If you ask any marathon runner what the most challenging aspect of completing the 42 km journey is, most will tell you it is hitting the wall.
It is not a brick wall, but a psychological one, which manifests in the brain once the body reaches the point of exhaustion.
For Doyle, the wall is inescapable but not impossible to overcome. But you have to be ready.
‘‘You’ll hit the wall every time, so it comes down to how well you’ve trained and how well prepared you are for it. I think you’ve got to have a fair bit of respect for the marathon if you want to finish it,’’ she said.
Most participants would have a rough idea on when it will come, but Doyle said she almost has it worked out to an exact science.
‘‘I say around the 36 km mark is about where my marathon starts because that’s when it becomes very much mind over matter because by then you are usually feeling said.
In preparation for Sunday, Doyle has been closely following her trusted training program, which has served her so well down the years.
Much like a race horse, she manipulates her training schedule to ensure she peaks at the right time and tapers down her work load significantly as the marathon draws closer.
Once again the time has come to put her body through the rigours of yet another Melbourne Marathon. Once that is done, her focus shifts to achieving her next target in the sport.
‘‘My ultimate goal is to do one in every state and I’ve still a got a few to go so hopefully the legs hold out,’’ Doyle said.
To this point she has done marathon’s in Tasmania and the Gold Coast, but has her eyes firmly set on doing Uluru in July for the Australian Outback Marathon.
With her steely determination, you certainly would not put it past her. pretty well spent,’’ she
Ready to run again: Cobram runner Marie Doyle is about to compete in her 12th Melbourne Marathon on Sunday.