When Shaun Creighton crossed the finish line at the MCG on Sunday in the Melbourne Running Festival marathon, he says he had the same sense of satisfaction as when he ran the Berlin Marathon 22 years ago.
As a 52-year-old, his time of 2:29.23 was 19 minutes slower, but the effort was just as significant. His pre-race training schedule included a 10-week block involving a 39 kilometre run every Sunday across the base of Mt Ainslie and its surrounds.
Having witnessed this feat first-hand on a regular basis, be assured it’s no Sunday stroll; it’s done at pace.
The Melbourne Running Festival marathon was Shaun’s 30th marathon, and he bettered fellow Canberra runner Peter Kallio’s Australian over-50s record, which had stood untouched for 32 years. He can add it to other records he currently holds, including the over-50s record for 3 km, 5 km and 10 km, and the 3 km open steeplechase record he set 26 years ago.
Shaun concedes he was tempted to attempt the Australian over-50s record for the steeplechase but he quickly dropped the idea after being reminded of the problems it caused his body, especially his hips.
Injuries are unpleasant at the best of times but are easier to accumulate as you get older. It’s not as if he doesn’t push himself. Adhering to the training principles established during his time with veteran coach Pat Clohessy, he runs an average 120 km a week, compared with 200 km a week in his prime, but it’s still all about time in the legs.
It’s not as easy these days.
As a partner at Moulis Legal, Shaun spends plenty of hours behind a desk but says he has found the perfect balance.
“I’m sitting behind a desk through the day, so it’s good going for a run. If you’re active physically it helps you mentally.”
Now with four over-50s Australian records under his belt, Shaun says he needs to reset his goals. He is channelling his energy into coaching 29-year-old Canberra runner Emily Brichacek to qualify for the 10,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics. If she succeeds, it will be her first Olympics.
As a two-time Olympian, Shaun says he knows how special that would be, and it is a powerful motivator as they push each other to achieve their goals.