Toowoomba flyer turns back clock in 5km road race victory

Matt Macdonald

Matt Macdonald wins the 5km Road Race. Photo: Cam Jackson

Thursday 10 November

By Jeremy O’Connell (for Pan Pacific Masters Games

Toowoomba’s Matt Macdonald has stormed home to win the 5km road race at the Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games.

The 41-year-old blitzed the field to win the race in 16:09 – his fastest 5km on the road in over 12 years.

On the Gold Coast to compete in all four distance running events, Matt made short work of the Southport Spit course as he breezed past The Broadwater before tearing the tape.

A serious runner during his teens and twenties, Matt went into a sporting hiatus during his 30s as he dealt with a number of life issues, including anxiety and depression.

“I started as a teenager and ran through school. I ran very well in my 20s (but) walked away from the sport at age 30,” Matt said.

“I did nothing until my 40th birthday when, under the advice from my doctor, I needed to do something. So I started running again.”

The Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games caps off a successful return to running for Matt and the way he has used the sport to overcome mental illness. The father of two is extremely happy with his progress to date.

“I didn’t think I’d ever run this quick again. I don’t run to win, I just love the sport. Regular running and incredible support from my wife has turned things around,” he said.

“I run most days. I’ve been working at it for a couple of years now so it’s very, very nice.

“I just love running.”

Matt decided to compete at the Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games as the timing was perfect for his training schedule and also as the event allows for some fun family time while on the Gold Coast. Plus, he loves the atmosphere and the much-celebrated camaraderie of the event.

“We’ll kick around, do a bit of stuff on the beach, make sure the kids have some fun while we’re here,” he said.

“It’s not about winning medals and running times, you get out and share something you love with other people – it’s awesome!”

Marion Hermitage en route to winning the women’s 5km road race. Photo: Cam Jackson

The women’s race was won by 53-year-old Marion Hermitage from Daisy Hill, Queensland, in 21:15.

(Athletics – distance running comprises of four legs over four days. Starting with the beach mile (1.6km) on Wednesday 9 November, the program includes today’s 5km road race, tomorrow’s 4km cross country and ends on Saturday with the 10.5km trail run. Participants running in all four disciplines will complete a half marathon (21.1km) on four surfaces.)

The 10th biennial Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games is being held 5 – 13 November 2016 on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

The event showcases competition in 43 sports and is hosting 13,000 participants from Queensland, interstate and overseas.

Jeremy O’Connell is a Gold Coast based marketing and communications specialist helping businesses increase their brand awareness and customer engagement.

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