Marathon men go the distance

Published 22 August 2016 (AEDT)

The start of the men's marathon. © 2016 Getty Images

ATHLETICS: The marathon is the most gruelling and demanding of Olympic events – and Scott Westcott had a smile on his face every step of the 42.2km way.

This was the realisation of a dream that the boy from Alectown, near Parkes in the NSW central west, never thought would materialise.

Having qualified but missed selection for the 5000m and 10,000m for the Sydney 2000 Games, and for the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 marathons, Westcott is now an Olympian.

And at 40 (actually just a month shy of 41), Westcott now also holds a special place in Australian track and field history as our oldest Olympics debutant.

“I’m just proud to be here, proud Australian,” Westcott said.

“I’m trying to take it all in because this is my one chance to do that,

“I was pretty pleased to hold it together today, it got rough pretty quickly.”

Just finishing a marathon is a milestone moment.

To do so in an Olympics is even more special. And Rio’s humidity made this a tough and challenging race for everyone.

It is why Australia’s trio of Westcott, Liam Adams and Michael Shelley celebrated one of the great Olympic achievements together.

Adams finished the best of the Australians in 31st place in a time of two hours, 16 minutes and 12 seconds.

He waited at the finish line for his Aussie teammates, Shelley crossing 47th in 2:18.06 and Westcott 81st in 2:22.19.

“Position wise I’m quite happy with that, I didn’t think I was going to be that high up,” Adams said.

“I blew up a fair but, I ran that middle stage a bit too hard and really felt the pinch at the end… it was bloody tough out there, toughest race I’ve done.”

Shelley added: “Not making excuses but a few niggles (with my Achilles) I had the last couple of weeks, missing training, caught up with me towards the end.

“It was a tough race, we did our best and hopefully Australia is proud of us.”

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge won the gold in 2:08.44, Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa won the silver in 2:09.54 and Galen Rupp of the USA the bronze in 2:10.05.

David Taylor

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