Canberra Times


Dad's on the home run for Olympic fame

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Martin Dent's three sons burst into tears most mornings as they watch their dad disappear into the Canberra fog for his training runs, but they'll be cheering when they arrive in London for the biggest moment of his marathon career.

Dent and his family will leave the capital this week for their journey to the Olympic Games in London.

But you wouldn't know the biggest sporting event in the world begins in just 11 days if you spend a morning in the Dent house in Cook.

Dent and wife Kathie have perfected a routine of organised chaos with sons Elye, Connor and Hayden around their training schedules.

The boys start crying when Dent runs down the stairs because it usually means he's running the 10 kilometres to work.

But it's the tears, the laughs, the shouting and the smiles which keep Dent grounded.


''These early mornings put it all in perspective.

''Sure it's a big deal at the Olympics, but it's not everything,'' Dent said.

''That helps with not putting pressure on, as well as knowing that it's not the end of the world if things don't go to plan in London.''

The Dent family routine is pretty simple. While most are still sleeping, Kathie goes for a run at 6am and Martin wakes up the boys.

When Kathie returns, the boys are eating breakfast and Martin races out the door for his morning run.

Some mornings the headlight they wear glistens on the ice and frost, while at other times they can't see through thick fog.

It's not the life of the high-profile Olympians, but Dent isn't like most athletes preparing for the Games.

He works full-time at the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

''But sitting at a desk isn't too draining'' when you regularly run 42-kilometre marathons.

Few colleagues know about his forthcoming trip to London.

But it's his morning, lunch and evening runs which set him apart.

His goal is to finish in the top 20 and Dent prefers to keep a low profile, running his 190 kilometres a week and braving the Canberra weather.

Kathie Dent said: ''I struggle to get out of bed on the cold mornings. If it rains I won't go out there. But Martin is out there in fog, rain, hail … nothing stops him.''

Dent doesn't race until August 12; the last day of competition at the Olympics.

Kathie and the three boys will leave Canberra on Thursday to settle in and they will stay with Dent's London-based brother Colin and sister Nina.

Dent admits it will be strange waking up on race day and not having his boys running around him.

But the boys, Kathie, his parents Cliff and Dianne, his two sisters and brother and friends from Canberra will be watching his every step.

''I just want to look back on something I'm proud of and it's going to be great having everyone there,'' Dent said.