FANTASTIC FINISH: Ipswich marathon ace Clay Dawson crosses the line first to win the inaugural Greater Springfield Marathon.
FANTASTIC FINISH: Ipswich marathon ace Clay Dawson crosses the line first to win the inaugural Greater Springfield Marathon. Kylie Giggins

Clay's emotional tribute after marathon effort

EMOTIONAL Ipswich runner Clay Dawson showed how much the inaugural Greater Springfield Marathon meant by dedicating his latest success to another regional runner.

After covering the 42.195km course first in two hours, 35 minutes and 59 seconds, Dawson acknowledged the Springfield Runners Group and one of their dedicated members David Isles who recently passed away.

The modest marathon champion was in two minds whether to mention his former colleague after the race or keep what happened during the testing run, to himself.

However, he received a sign at a crucial stage of the marathon that prompted the Rosewood State High teacher to share his wonderful moment with everyone.

"He (Isles) was such an important part of our community that I got quite emotional seeing all the Springfield runners out there,'' Dawson said.

"Then around 32k's, I got a really bad cramp, which I've never had before. And it was almost at that point that he sort of exploded into my brain.

"For some reason, after probably 500 metres, it (the cramp) kind of disappeared.

"When that happened, that made me feel like it was a bit of a sign that I should say something.''

After his timely boost, Dawson recovered to finish the race below his expectations of two hours and 40 minutes.

"I wanted to mention him for the whole Springfield community and the way that his family dealt with it,'' Dawson said.

"They have shown their strength. It's beyond inspiring.''

 

 

Runners prepare to start the inaugural Greater Springfield Marathon events on Sunday morning.
Runners prepare to start the inaugural Greater Springfield Marathon events on Sunday morning. Kylie Giggins

Springfield Festival event team representatives like Steve Hodgson were thrilled to see Dawson claim the first marathon win in Ipswich and display so much respect for others.

"That was quite touching. That's a humble guy,'' Hogdson said, appreciating Dawson's post-race tribute.

Focusing on five marathons in coming months, Dawson finished ahead of Stuart Price (3:10.27) and Jason Littler (3:19.16).

"That's one down and four to go,'' Dawson said yesterday, reflecting on his latest victory with the Gold Coast Marathon next on his 2018 program.

"It was a really tough course.

"Thankfully though, the beauty of it being a looping course like that means that there was plenty of opportunity to share the spirit on course.

"I don't think I've ever had a race where there was so much spirit on course. Everyone was really positive.

"It was one of the hardest marathons I've ever done but one of the most rewarding and one of the most enjoyable.''

 

Top female marathon winner Taryn Axelsen receives her winner's trophy and cheque from Tracey Caruana, the principal of marathon sponsors McGrath Springfield.
Top female marathon winner Taryn Axelsen receives her winner's trophy and cheque from Tracey Caruana, the principal of marathon sponsors McGrath Springfield. Kylie Giggins

USQ statistics lecturer Taryn Axelsen become the inaugural Greater Springfield Marathon women's champion. Her winning time was three hours and 27 minutes.

The mother of two finished 6th overall.

Axelsen, 38, accepted the winner's trophy and cheque from Tracey Caruana, the principal of marathon sponsors McGrath Springfield.

"I live in Springfield Lakes and it was great to run on local roads and come out on top of this really well organised debut event," Axelsen said.

Her USQ Springfield campus office, where she works as a statistics lecturer, overlooks the finish line and the bottom section of the marathon course, so she knew what to expect in the race.

"There were plenty of hills and it certainly made the run very tough,'' she said. "But the idea of six laps at the top and six laps at the bottom made it great for the runners and for spectators to offer so much support to everyone."

Her time was only six minutes off her personal best: a 3:21 effort at the Melbourne Marathon two years ago. That course was relatively flat and considerably faster.

Axelsen entered the Greater Springfield Marathon a little underprepared, having only recently completed an ironman (4km swim, 180km ride, 42.2km run) in New Zealand.

That was her fifth ironman event as she considers contesting the gruelling Kona world championship qualifier in Western Australia later this year.

Her 15-year-old son Bailey Swan made it a double on Sunday. He was the top junior and came fifth in the 14km event.

Key results

Greater Springfield Marathon (42.195km): 1. Clay Dawson 2:35:59, 2. Stuart Price 3:10:27, 3. Jason Littler 3:19:16.

35km: 1. Adrian Royce, 2:26:14, 2. Jack Anderson 2:34.35,

3. Siu Fai Chan 2:34.46.

Half marathon: 1. Isaias Beyn 1:09:44, 2. Aidan Hobbs 1:15:12, Aaron Johnman 1:18:39.

28km winner: Christopher Dalby 1:46:22.

14km winner: Brendan Press 47:16.

7km winner: Lachlan Cowley 22:46.

1km winner: Conor Mathewson 49:04.



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