ANGLESEA-born athlete Julian Spence went one better than his run last year to claim the 2015 Great Ocean Road Marathon yesterday.
The 28-year-old finished runner-up in 2014, but crossed the line in a tick over two-and-a-half hours, achieving a lifelong goal by winning the 44-kilometre run along the iconic road.
He beat John Csongei, second, and Nick Ashton, third, by over five minutes, while Kirsten Bull was the first woman to finish the gruelling run ahead of Alison Wilson.
Geelong-based Spence said yesterday’s result was a career highlight.
“I grew up in Anglesea and this has always been my home race, I’ve just wanted to win it forever, I just keep trying and today I got it,” Spence told the Colac Herald following the race.
“It’s a world-class event, people know this race everywhere.
“I’m hosting a Japanese runner at the moment, he’s come over to do it, and people are blown away, people come from all over to do it.
“And it’s not hard to see why when you’re running it.”
Spence said he used the event, which attracted more than 6000 people to Lorne and Apollo Bay over the weekend, as preparation for up-coming cross-country races.
“I just wanted to get a good long run in and the half-marathon would have been too strenuous,” he said.
“I slow it down a bit in the marathon even though it’s longer.
“I run for Geelong in the Athletics Victoria season and I’m actually the team manager, we compete around Victoria in winter and they’re all a bit shorter than this.
“I probably do too many marathons, so I’m going to try and back it off a little bit.”