ALEX MATTHEWS ran a personal best time to clinch his first Great Ocean Road Marathon along the iconic route from Lorne to Apollo Bay.
Matthews edged out 1300 other competitors in the 45 kilometre race and ran alongside a further 3000 entrants in the half marathon from Kennett River yesterday.
The Sydney emergency doctor said marathon running was “just a hobby”, despite running the tough course in a time of 2.32.33.
Matthews edged out Julian Spence, second, by under a minute.
The winner said Spence’s challenge kept him motivated to cross the line first after missing out on a podium finish in his first two attempts at the race.
“I think I was in front from the start, but Julian was right with me most of the way and I was asking people how close he was; it was easier to keep me motivated,” Matthews told the Colac Herald after the race.
“I’ve done it twice before, I came fourth last year, and the year before I was quite sick, so it was hard work to just cross the finish line.”
Matthews, who has competed in two marathons this year, said he had a low-key preparation for the Great Ocean Road Marathon, which was one of his favourite events to run.
“I’ve been training quite well, I haven’t been doing enough running probably, but it just means it’s going to hurt a bit more in the race,” he said.
“I hadn’t done too many runs more than 20 kilometres, but that usually keeps me pretty injury free, so I did a little less than more, but that’s sometimes good in a way.
“It’s a bit longer than all others; it was definitely a PB today.
“There were a few bits where you hit the wall and you have a gel and you just hope it will get you through, but a lot of it’s psychological and you’ve got to get over that.
“I just love the location, I’ve never been to the Great Ocean Road before I came three years ago, but I thought it was a great event and I’ve loved it each time,” Matthews said.
Richard Banks was third across the line, while Kirsten Bull was the first female to finish the gruelling run ahead of Luci Hardiman and Magda Karimali-Poulos.