On a very windy morning, which played havoc for all runners, Melbourne PE teacher Virginia Moloney and 30-year-old Sydney-sider Tom Do Canto took out the Melbourne marathon to claim Australian titles and also the first prize of $20,000.
While many runners struggled to record PB’s on a day when wind gusts of 40km/h were recorded, Moloney slashed seven minutes off her previous best to finish in 2:34:27 and improve her chances of making the world championship team for London next August.
Moloney has blossomed as a runner since moving to Melbourne and joining fellow teacher Liam Delaney’s group in 2014.
On the day, she was inspired by many of her pupils cheering her on at the 25km turnaround point, which was near her school.
“It was so nice to see them all out there and to be running on a course that I knew to a tee. I absolutely have the world championships in my sights, now,” Moloney said.
Do Canto, running his first marathon, clocked 2:20:53.
The 30-year-old Sydney podiatrist was among a leading group of four with Matthew Cox, Duer Yoa and Isaias Beyn when a half marathon competitor, Ben Moreau, overtook them into the wind during the stretch between 32 and 35km along St Kilda Road.
All four tried to latch onto the back of Moreau, like cyclists into the wind, but after 34km Do Canto was the only runner left and he paid tribute to Moreau post-event.
“The wind was really brutal so it was crucial to have that support from Ben. I clung on to him and as we split off to come home I just said to him, you legend,” Do Canto said.
Despite the wind, the sunny, mild weather meant thousands completed the Marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5.7km and 3km events – and in doing so, they raised $1.1 million for a range of charities.