14th May 2018
Coming in at the lightning speed of 3.45.31, Blue Mountains local Celia Sullohern out ran the men as she claimed first in the gruelling race.
Facing a difficult track change this year, the marathon followed fire trails, road and walking tracks up and over undulating terrain. Winding through the spectacular Hamilton Island region, Sullohern reflected on the awe she felt while racing.
“I had to keep focused to avoid tripping over,” she said.
“It was such a stunning run, very technical parts, especially up in the trails.”
At the finish line, Ms Sullohern expressed a deep passion for the cross-country style race.
“I love the trail stuff, it’s a different mentality in terms of persisting and plugging away on your own. You know there are bits that are going to feel really tough, but you get through it and keep moving,” she said.
A few places behind Sullohern was Whitsunday Running Club participant Justin Knight-Gray, the first local to cross the line. Placing seventh in 4.55.56, Knight-Gray recognised his achievement but did suggest some disappointment.
“The time and place I got, it’s an awesome achievement and I am hard on myself because I would have liked to have done better,” he said.
“I didn’t drink enough water and I got cramps in my legs, but I gave it 100 per cent.”
Pushing Knight-Gray forward over the 42km track was the invaluable backing of the Airlie Beach Running Club.
“They were all cheering for all six loops and it’s just awesome to have the people cheering you on, it really spurs you to keep going,” he said.
Placing second behind Sullohern, and first in the men’s division, was Mackay local Carl Pinkstone running in his first Hilly Marathon.
“It seemed to fly past, it didn’t feel like four hours,” he said.
Coming in with a time of 3:48:11, Pinkstone said that while he knew Sullohern was not far ahead through the race, he “was just happy to finish and still be in one piece at the line”.