November 2017


2017 Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival: SriLankan Airlines Half Marathon
November 2017




SriLankan Airlines Half Marathon begins

Melbourne provided the perfect backdrop for the 32,000 participants who took part in the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival in October, with Australian Celia Sullohern and Kenyan, Isaac Birir taking out first place in the Men's and Women's events respectively.


The SriLankan Airlines Half Marathon provided plenty of excitement with Australian of Ethiopian origin Makda Haji, turning up unexpectedly on race morning to win the women's race in a record time of 1:10.39, while Aussie Brett Robinson was the first male across the line in 64.01.


Haji, an asylum seeker, had also won the Sydney marathon three weeks earlier, beating Trengove (71.48) and dual Olympian Eloise Wellings (72.23). The 29-year old has scored podium finishes in marathons worldwide - including Venice, Paris and Beijing.


After the SriLankan Half Marathon, Haji said "I love running and hope one day to represent Australia, maybe even at the Commonwealth Games next year."


She went on to say, "I hope I can inspire other young women with refugee backgrounds to participate in marathons, demonstrating their talent and strength of spirit to the broader community." 


In the men's race, Brett Robinson ran a personal best of 64:01.


Born in Canberra and now living in Melbourne, Brett is a professional runner, having represented Australia in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the final of the 5000 metres. The 26-year-old has raced in Moscow, Beijing and Oman and is keen to add Colombo to his list of international running destinations.


Brett described his participation in the SriLankan Half Marathon as a brilliant day, "Running with 30 plus thousand people of all levels and different goals is amazing. You're out there with people who want to beat you and others who just want to make it to the finish line." He added "Melbourne is a great course because you get to take in a lot of the city as well as the magnificent view over Port Phillip Bay, finishing up at the MCG."


Over 40,000 spectators cheered on participants as they ran past some of Melbourne's famous landmarks including Flinders Street Station, Albert Park Lake, St Kilda Beach, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Royal Botanic Gardens before finishing with a lap of the iconic MCG.


 Participants raised over $1 million for a charity of their choice, including official charity partner, Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC) and associate charities, JMB Foundation, Australian Red Cross, Heart Foundation and the Cathy Freeman Foundation.


Medibank Melbourne Marathon is Australia's largest marathon. It is a competitive race for those experienced in marathon running and is also perfect for first-timers and less experienced. Marathon legends participate too.


The Course

The SriLankan Airlines Half Marathon started at Batman Ave on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River.


Athletes passed a number of Landmarks as they ran along some of Melbourne's best known streets and boulevards including St Kilda Boulevard, Fitzroy Street, Flinders Street and Birrarung Marr before completing a lap of the MCG and crossing the finishing line.


Landmarks the Athletes passed

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's internationally renowned botanical gardens located near the centre of Melbourne on the south bank of the Yarra River. Albert Park is home to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Circuit.


Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) established in 1853, less than 20 years after the founding of Melbourne, it is often described as the beating heart of this fantastic city. It has been the home of Australian football since 1859, and was the birthplace of Test cricket in 1877 and one-day international cricket in 1971.


It was the main stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games, attracts up to 100,000 fans to the annual AFL Grand Final and comes to life each Christmas at the Boxing Day Test.

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    Brett Robinson
    Men's winner (Half marathon)
    64.01

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    Makda Haji
    Women's winner (Half marathon)
    1:10.39

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    Participants run across a picturesque landscape

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    Runners in the midst of the race; the marathon is a test of strength and perseverance

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    Celia Sullohern
    Women's Winner (Full Marathon)
    2:29.27

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    Isaac Birir
    Men's Winner (Full marathon)
    2:14.8

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    Thousands of runners participate in the Melbourne Marathon

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    Lisa Kennedy and Ryan Hicks pictured with SriLankan Airlines staff members certainly stood out from the crowd, competing as Wonder Wing Man & Woman, completing the course in 1:59.

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    Margherita Traina pictured with SriLankan Airlines staff members has competed in 11 marathons around the world and 19 half marathons. She lists Melbourne as one of her favourite marathon events and is keen to run the Colombo Marathon and experience the Sri Lankan culture.

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    Andrew Talbot has competed in three Melbourne half marathons, raising money for Prader-Willi Syndrome Australia. A genetic disorder that causes obesity, intellectual disability and shortness in height. His close friend's daughter has the disease.

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    Steve 'Mona' Moneghetti is one of Australia's all-time greatest marathon runners having represented the country at four Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games and six World Championships. He has run an incredible 22 marathons and finished in 11th place or higher in 20 of them. Steve was there on the day to lend support to some of the runners.

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