Mike Le Roux takes out Solar Eclipse Marathon
IT'S not the easiest thing for him to do anymore, but Cairns endurance athlete Mike Le Roux admits he surprised himself by winning yesterday's Port Douglas Solar Eclipse Adventure Marathon.The 36-year-old finished the 42.2km course, which started on Four Mile Beach and incorporated the gruelling Bump Track, in 3 hr 06 min 22 sec after arriving at Rex Smeal Park with the theme music to Rocky blaring over the speakers. James Milton was second in 3:19.17, while Jan Peterson was third after clocking 3:19.56.
But the day belonged to Le Roux, who can now relax after an exhaustive year of competing. The 2010 Ultraman world champion spent three months racing in the US, earning second in the prestigious Grand Slam of Ultrarunning before returning to Australia in September.
The gruelling training Le Roux did for that series of four 160km races meant he had the mileage in his legs for yesterday's marathon.
But distance was never going to be his issue.
"It's the speed across the distance that's the big problem," Le Roux said.
"The whole year's training (for the Grand Slam) was geared at long and slow, so by the time I'd recovered and decided to do this, I only really had about two weeks of specific training.
"So everything hurt from when I started to when I crossed the line."
With a quality field assembled for the marathon, Le Roux never gave himself the luxury of relaxing his punishing pace.
"My philosophy is to go out hard and hang on, but I'm glad I crossed the line when I did because I was running out of 'hang on'," he said.
"At the top of the Bump Track I only had a six-minute lead. With a downhill run and then another 15km into town, you just have to drop 20 seconds a kilometre and someone's got you.
"So I always had that at the back of my mind."
Australian marathon legend Steve Moneghetti, who is also the event's ambassador, finished fourth.
"It'll be one that'll stick in my memory for a very long time," Moneghetti said at the finish line.
"Solar eclipse running in the hinterland, up the Bump Track and finishing in this beautiful environment looking out on the sea is fantastic.
"It's a very special course. It's a special place and you've got to pinch yourself a bit when you're out there."
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Victor: Mike Le Roux crosses the finish line. Picture: STEWART McLEAN.