After a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, it would take a lot more than freezing temperatures and strong winds to keep Canberra's keenest runners away.
Thousands took to pounding the pavement around some of Canberra's most recognisable sites on Sunday as part of The Canberra Times Marathon Festival.
A contingent of more than 8000 people lined up to take part in the event and aim for a winning time, whether it was the casual runner competing in the 5.4 kilometre or 10 kilometre course, right through to the more serious athletes taking on the half-marathon, marathon or ultra-marathon.
Melburnian Matt Whitaker took out the men's ultra-marathon event, clocking in at just under three hours to complete the grueling 50-kilometre event, which wound its way around the Parliamentary Triangle, Yarralumla and Lake Burley Griffin.
He said while the strong winds made for challenging conditions while on the course, he managed to push through to claim the win.
"I thought I was in a bit of trouble with about 15 kilometres to go, but I'm relieved more than anything else. I'm just happy about the result," Mr Whitaker said.
"There was a large four-kilometre stretch where you were running into the head wind, and I thought I was in trouble there, but then on the way back you had the tailwind on your side."
The marathon festival has been one of the largest events to take place in Canberra since the pandemic, with COVID restrictions in 2020 leading to the marathon's postponement.
However, the year-long wait for the marathon worked out well for Sydneysider Megan Hasick, who won the women's ultra-marathon category.
The Canberra event was Ms Hasick's first ultra-marathon, having completed her first marathon just two years ago.
"The delay had been good, because I'm feeling the strongest that I've been and I kept up doing lots of long runs," Ms Hasick said.
"I was a bit worried at first because of the cold weather, but as soon as I got into it, I could not have asked for better conditions."
Gold Coast runner Riine Ringi was the winner of the women's marathon, coming in with a time of two hours, 42 minutes, 26 seconds.
What made the win even more remarkable was the fact she was missing parts of her toenails that were lost during an ultra-marathon event late last year.
"I only have half a toenail left, and I'm a bit afraid to take my socks off to see the damage," she said.
"This was the first marathon that I've won, and I've always wanted to break the tape and that was such a good feeling."
It was also a first-time win for Myles Gough, who was the victor in the men's marathon.
After years of running just for recreation, the Wollongong resident has been competing in marathons more seriously for the past two years.
"It was pretty windy and pretty cold in parts and I was very much on my own from gun to tape," he said.
"I came in confident and had a time goal, and although I didn't make that goal, I was very happy to come away with the win."
The marathon event saw more than $50,000 raised for charity.
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