Melbourne Marathon Festival
Melbourne Marathon FestivalThe story so far In the late seventies and early eighties, most major cities decided to follow in the successful footsteps of Boston and host a marathon. With milk drink Big M sponsoring it, Melbourne staged its first marathon in 1978 on a course that began in Frankston, headed up Nepean Highway and finished outside the Melbourne Town Hall. Former Victorian Sports and Recreation Minister Brian Dixon provided the impetus for the first event after a colleague returned from the US raving about the 1977 New York marathon. Over 2000 runners took part in the inaugural event with most catching a special early morning train to Frankston. Inaugural winners 1978 Bill Scott - an Olympic 10,000m finalist Elizabeth Hassell - went on to become the first Australian woman to break 2:40. Most wins - three
■1990 Commonwealth Games 5000m gold medallist Andrew Lloyd won the event three times from 1979-81 when he was the Fun Run King.
■The only female to win the event three times is Victorian Sherryn Rhodes, who won in 1998, 2002 and 2005. Course records Both course records were set in cool, windless conditions in 2010. ■Ethiopian distance runner Mulu Seboka ran 2:32.20. At the 10km mark she was on 2:25 pace. Her time took 67 seconds off the previous record held by three-time Olympian Susan Hobson, who won the Melbourne race in 2:33.27 in 1999.
■Kenyan Japhet Kipkorir knocked four seconds off the previous best time set by four-time Boston marathon winner Bill Rodgers to win the 2010 event in 2:11.04. It was only his second marathon with his first a blister-affected 2hr30min effort in Stockholm. American Rodgers was 35 when he won the race in 1982 and road a rare tailwind from Frankston into the Arts Centre. Oldest winners ■Essendon's Michael McIntyre (2:25.04 in 1999) was 41.
■Hong Kong's Winnie Ng (2:47.37 in 1994) was 41yrs 10 months, three months older than Susan Hobson (2:33.27 in 1999). Youngest winners
■Sydney's Andrew Lloyd (2:26.44 in 1979) was 20.
■Tracey Newton (2:48.32 in 1997) was 21. Course route
■The first Melbourne Marathon in 1978 started in Frankston and went directly up Nepean Hwy to St Kilda Rd with the finish in front of the Melbourne Town Hall.
■From 1982 to 1991 course started in Frankston, used Beach Rd, finishing at the Arts Centre. ■From 1992 to 1995 the marathon started at Olympic Park, Melbourne and finished after a course around Melbourne at the Arts Centre.
■From 1996 to 1999 the marathon started and finished at Albert Park.
■In 2000-2004 course reverted to Frankston start with finish at Albert Park Lake and in 2005 and 2006, the finish was back in front of the Arts Centre.
■In 2007 course started in Wellington Parade Sth and finished inside MCG.
■In 2008, start was moved to Batman Avenue.
■In 2009, Birdwood Avenue (Botanical Gardens) was added to the course and Kerferd Rd removed for residential access reasons. Sponsors The Melbourne Marathon has had nine different major sponsors in its 33 years.
■Bank of Melbourne replaced St George as naming rights sponsor in 2011.
■The first naming rights sponsor, Big M, lasted from 1978 to 1985.
■Others include: Budget 1986-1989, Qantas 1990-94, Vic Health 1995 and 1997, City of Melbourne 1998-1999, Asics 2000-2005, Samsung 2006-2008, St George 2009-2010, Bank of Melbourne 2011 and Medibank 2012. Race/event directors There have been four race/event directors, although a board of management took control during the City of Melbourne sponsorship period. Ted Paulin 1978-1993 John Mallinder 1994-1999 Joe Murphy 2000-2005 Dallas O'Brien 2006-2009 Greg Hooton 2010, 2011 & 2012 Number of competitors
■In 2010, there were 5072 finishers - the largest Australian marathon by finishers in history.
■More than 6000 runners entered the marathon in 1983, but only 4798 finished.
■There were 123 women who ran in the first event in 1978. In 2009, there were 1388 female finishers, including a record 135 women breaking three hours, 30 minutes.
■Since moving to the MCG finish in 2007, the Melbourne Marathon has undergone a major resurgence in participants. More than 9000 runners entered in Melbourne's half marathon event last year and overall entries across five events was 27,192.

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