McDonald ends half marathon hoodoo

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Darren McDonald powers away to win his first Elleker Half Marathon on Sunday.
Camera IconDarren McDonald powers away to win his first Elleker Half Marathon on Sunday. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Persistence paid off for Mt Barker runner Darren McDonald, who broke through for his first Elleker Half Marathon triumph on Sunday.

The 42-year-old has featured regularly in the top three placings in recent years but finally enjoyed his day in the sun, breaking through for his maiden win at the 24th edition of the event among a record 280 competitors.

With his parents watching on, McDonald overhauled early leader and eventual second James Smith (1hr. 21min.42sec) at the 3km mark and was never headed as he went on to defy his expectations and win by just under three minutes in a time of 1:18:57.

Local runner Nathan Small (1:23.45) was third in the half marathon, while Kate Pritchett produced an impressive run to be the first woman across the line in 1:30:40. Battling injuries and entering the race with low expectations due to his recent training, McDonald said it was a relief to finally stand on top of the podium.

“I think I’ve come second three or four times now. To finally win it felt great,” he said after the race.

“I didn’t expect to run that good today.

“This year I wasn’t expecting to run well and had no expectations and it worked.”

2019 Elleker Half Marathon female winner Kate Pritchett.
Camera Icon2019 Elleker Half Marathon female winner Kate Pritchett. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

McDonald said it was pleasing to win the same day as fellow local runner Callum Dowell blitzed the 10km road race field to win in a time of 34:48 after finishing second last year. Young Albany State athlete Jana Kriek was the female winner of the 10km race in a time of 39:57. Kelly Waterhouse (1:24.15) won the 10km walk, and Riley Marsh claimed the kids’ 2km dash.

Half Marathon winner Darren McDonald was thrilled to win alongside 10km winner Callum Dowell.
Camera IconHalf Marathon winner Darren McDonald was thrilled to win alongside 10km winner Callum Dowell. Credit: Laurie Benson

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