Drink Station No. 11 – The success of Melbourne Marathon 2014 and our club’s part in it
Well, as concerns the weather, anything was going to be better than last year’s cold and rainy Marathon. This year, however, Marathon day on 12 October could not have been more perfect; even a little warm for the participants – more than 32,000 across the 5 events. The forecast 27°C had materialised and we were pleased.
By prior arrangement, the event masters, IMG, allowed our team, again located at the last drink station for the full marathon, to ‘bump-in’ a little later at 6:45 – 7 pm; a more respectable time to previous years. Despite best intentions to be punctual for the customary early presence at our site, yours truly managed to sleep in to 5:30 on that morning, thus paying the price; painfully remote parking … in Fitzroy! I felt the full weight of this year’s Marathon theme ‘Run as One’. And I did!
Thus, welcomed a bit after 7 am – the start of the ‘full-marathon’ – by most of the team already arrived at ‘our’ Drinkstation No. 11 and starting setting up – I only just managed to redeem my ignominy by being bearer of our MM14 ‘uniform’; the much-prized volunteer shirts and caps.
Our collective well-practised efficiency quickly shone through and, by 8:30, our team was set up and ready to go. But first, the group photo (see somewhere nearby on this web page)! Allow me to introduce our fabulous team: Standing (L to R): Elaine McLeod, Gary Cozens, Arthur Whitchell, Maria Strong, Doreen Giannini, Mel Hardiman, Ian Williams, Maddy Webb, Katie Webb, Stephen Murphy, Molly Gallagher, Jenny Wood; and sitting: Judy Tweddle and yours truly.
We were delighted to have Ian Williams in our midst after an absence of many years, but saddened that Duncan Knox and his son Christian; staunch drinkstationers over countless years, were absent due to sickness.
Our drinkstation veteran Arthur, again this year, provided us with very welcome morning coffee and biscuits.
A welcome stranger, ‘Paul’, came to join our team (alas, too late for the group shot) and stayed the distance at Drinkstation No. 11, for which we are most grateful.
By a bit after 9 am, we were on guard to receive Dominic Ondoro, who, heralded by police escort and time display vehicle, just steamed through. Alas, sorry, no time to chat, as he was on a winning streak to finish first in 2:11:30; just 43 seconds shy of his winning time last year. The women’s winner, Nikki Chapple came through 20 minutes later, to finish with an official time of 2:31:05.
Our team then courageously withstood the ensuing onslaught of runners; suffering fatigue only in our shoulders from outstretched arms bearing innumerable cups of water and from loss of voice from cheering on all those brave enough to endure the last kilometre or so of their 42 km ordeal!
Danny Hawksworth ran the full marathon in a commendable time of 2:52:59 (96th overall); commendable especially given that he was struggling with a hip injury. He did accept refreshment from us and returned afterwards – amazingly refreshed – to chat and help our team for a while.
IMG are to be commended again this year for ensuring supply of all our needs; water, trestle tables, cups, water bins, rations (for us), fruit and sweets (we figured for returning marathoners .. and us), electrolyte additive (for the competitors), the large rubbish bins to receive spent cups and the street cleaning crews (thankfully relieving us of the job of tidying up that once used to be part of our task).
For the first time, this year, we were officially advised of the last runner coming through and thereby able to pack up a little early and disperse by about 1:30.
Whilst the article title may be a little cheeky, I extend my grateful thanks to all our wonderful drinkstation team for again helping to make this day a great success and such a fun day in fabulous weather to support this prominent community event and, in doing so, helping to fund-raise for our own club.