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22-year-old claims her 10th Gold Coast Airport Marathon medal

22-year-old Madeleine Evely on her way to completing her third marathon on the Gold Coast on Sunday 2 July

A surprise visit from a loved one and endless support from family members helped Victorian Madeleine Evely finish her third consecutive Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday 2 July.

The 22-year-old, who has been making the 1,677km annual pilgrimage from Bendigo to the Gold Coast since 2006, said she could not have finished the 42.195km challenge without the support of her crew.

“My godmother Meagan, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and inspired me to fundraise and run my first marathon in 2014, surprised my family on the Gold Coast with her husband Mark,” Madeleine said.

“I really appreciated that and it was definitely a reminder to keep moving forward.

“Mum and dad, who ran the ASICS Half Marathon, and our other running friends are always a massive contribution to me loving the week away in Queensland.”

Victorian Madeleine ‘Maddog’ Evely has been racing on the Gold Coast since 2006

It was Madeleine’s 10th finish in a Gold Coast Airport Marathon race after making her debut in the Zespri Junior Dash at the age of 11 and said she was ecstatic with her marathon performance despite falling short of her 3:30 goal time.

“Crossing that finish line is always a relief. It’s exciting knowing you’ve once again completed a challenge you set out for yourself,” Madeleine said.

“The crowd support gets better and better each year. The last 500 metres is packed with people and it’s unbelievable. The cheering is so loud you just soak it up and enjoy the moment.

“I had my nickname ‘Maddog’ on my race bib and people were getting a great laugh out of that and yelling out “Go Maddog”. That was awesome. It gave me a laugh and would help keep me going when I wanted to stop.

“I have learnt that I am beyond determined and will never give up in a marathon despite the physical and mental pain I’m going through. I think marathoners always need to have a bit of ‘guts’ in their nature.”

Madeleine has her sights set on returning to the Gold Coast next year for her fourth marathon and encouraged others, especially younger people, to join her by setting a personal challenge at the event.

“Don’t listen to the naysayers. At this age, you will always have doubters that think you’re too young, not fit enough and not strong enough. Do it and prove them wrong. But most importantly, do it for yourself,” Madeleine said.

“Go out there and enjoy the atmosphere and your individual achievement. Whatever happens, happens. Be proud of your effort. No matter the time, a marathon is a marathon. If it were easy everyone would be doing it.”

Madeleine was the winner of our Run For Your Life magazine ‘Share Your Story’ competition. Read her story Madeleine’s journey from Junior Dash star to marathoner.

The 40th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held 30 June – 1 July 2018.

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