Kayleen Urquhart warmed up for a tilt at the Sydney Marathon in September by breaking through for her first-ever cross country win in the Stephen Baird five kilometre handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
Urquhart, whose running goal is to finish a marathon in every state and territory in Australia, had won triathlons with Melbourne’s Western Suburbs Triathlon Club but had to “retire” from the three-stage discipline due to arthritis in her lower back.
“I’m not able to ride a bike anymore but running doesn’t seem to trouble me,” she said. “I’m sure I could run a lot faster if I didn’t have the condition, but I’m happy just to be able to run to maintain my fitness.”
Having only her third start with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club, Urquhart mastered the muddy and slippery conditions on a course unfamiliar to her, making steady ground through the field to deny Sharon Howden back to back wins.
Third was Kayleen’s husband Mark in fastest time after steaming past most of the tiring front-markers in the final challenge up “heartbreak” hill in the Stawell Ironbarks.
Having already completed marathons in Melbourne, Canberra, Tasmania and the Gold Coast, Kayleen has only four more to do – Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and the Australian Outback Marathon (N.T.).
“Unfortunately the last three are all in the month of July so it will take me another three years to do them, but once I run Sydney I figure it’s all downhill from there.”
Next up for the Urquharts is the eight kilometre Best’s Winery Great Western Classic at Best’s on Saturday, starting at 10am. Free entry is offered to fun runners. For details call 53562493