ACT News


Running festival's on for young and old

Rad Leovic is well known in local sporting circles - the 84-year-old runs, cycle and swims. and competes ''every day except Monday'', often in multiple events on the same day.

Yesterday, as the oldest entrant in the The Canberra Times running festival, he completed the 21.1km half-marathon course in 2 hours 54 minutes.

His time was considerably slower than the two winners, Sean Bowes (1:12:58) and Hannah Flannery (1:18:57), but was good enough to see him take out eighth place in the 70- to 99-year-old category, or 1675th overall.

At the other end of the age scale, Logan Wicks, one day shy of his second birthday, ran the home straight of the marathon hand-in-hand with his pace-setting dad, Lennon.

The weather gods turned on a sunny day for the races, allowing the record number of competitors to enjoy some of the best views of the city as they weaved their way past the National Gallery, High Court and Parliament House, quite a sight-seeing tour for the 60 per cent of runners who travelled from outside the capital to compete.

About 3300 people ran in yesterday's half- and full marathon, more entrants than in Saturday's Fun Run distances. Race director Fred Taylor attributes the increase in numbers in the longer events to improvements in fitness.


''A few years back there was a real spike in 5km and 10km and Fun Run distances, and now a lot more people are finding they can run the half-marathon and marathon distances … people want more of a challenge,'' Mr Taylor said.

At the finish of the full marathon, 37-year-old Anthony Farrugia crossed the line just 21 seconds ahead of a fast-finishing Mathew Fenech. Farrugia, who works in a record shop when he's not training, said he was happy just to finish, after suffering from a stitch for much of the race.

Once again Magda Karimali-Poulos was the first woman to complete the full 42.2 kilometre course. It was her second straight victory in Canberra, and her fourth win in the past six years.

Third across the line in the men's event was Sam Walker. He opted to keep running after finishing the marathon, going on to win the 50km ultra-marathon. It was his first attempt at the distance in only his second marathon. The Sydney-based runner said the last 7.8km of the race ''was a little bit more relaxing.''

Natasha Fraser, 24, from Ballarat won the women's ultra-marathon.


Correction: This report originally incorrectly stated Mr Leovic came first place in the men's 80- to 89-year-old category. It has now been amended to say Mr Leovic took eighth place in the 70- to 99-year-old category. Incorrect information was supplied to The Canberra Times.