Pakenham runner faces training challenge

Pakenham marathon runner Andrew Thorpe.

By Jessica Anstice

A Pakenham runner has spent lockdown 2.0 training for a 30 kilometre marathon, even though he can only exercise within five kilometres from his home.

Andrew Thorpe and his running pal, Lena-Jean Charles-Loffel, are getting fit enough to compete in the annual Indigenous Marathon Program (IMP), to be held on November 1 in Alice Springs.

The pair have been running in isolation from one another.

“It’s obviously disappointing in a sense that everyone outside of Victoria is going to get into their hubs where it will feel a little bit more of a get together than what we are receiving down here,” Mr Thorpe said.

“We basically feel isolated down here because we are isolated in that sense. But then even within IMP, we are also isolated as well.

“Where I work and where Lena lives is only about 10 kilometres from each other, but I can’t catch up with her and go for a run.”

Even with the recent easing of restrictions from the State Government in the past week, the enthusiastic pair cannot run further away than a five kilometre radius from their homes.

“In my mind and my outlook, it’s just another challenge that gets put up ahead of me in life,” he said.

“Every time we try and step up in life there is always something trying to drag us back down and I feel like Covid is just that next challenge that I need to step over.”

Fortunately, Mr Thorpe was able to escape metropolitan Melbourne on the weekend to return home to Lakes Entrance to complete his 30 kilometre trial.

He was concerned he would be robbed of finishing the distance within the two hour exercise limit.

It eased his thoughts of not being able to run the 42 kilometre distance come the November 1 deadline.

Traditionally, the event would take place in New York City, where the famous marathon meanders its way through the city’s five boroughs over the iconic course.

“AFL and NRL is important to the community for everyone’s mental health and they have kept it going so people have got things to look forward to,” he added.

“So that’s why I am sort of like why can’t we go to the government and say for the aboriginal community, IMP is something that will give them something positive to look forward to.”

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