COULDN’T get a banana at the supermarket on Monday? Michael Collins is probably to blame.
Fuelled up on the 14 bananas he consumed pre-race and several more along the journey, the keen runner clocked a personal best in Sunday’s Weipa Running Festival marathon and also smashed last year’s time by more than an hour and a half.
As a 22-year-old, Collins ran the 42.2km in three hours and 31 minutes while competing in the Perth marathon in his native state.
But 10 years later, on a cross-country circuit, he’s stopped the clock in just over three hours and 20 minutes.
An elated Collins said he was surprised at his time.
“I was expecting to beat last year’s time but I didn’t think I was going to set a PB,” he said.
“For those that know me, I will be volunteering next year because every time I set a PB in parkrun I volunteer the next week.
“I think I’ll jump on the bike to lend a hand.”
Collins, who moved to Weipa two years ago to work as a drone operator for Rio Tinto, said he was running 50 to 100km a week to train for both his marathon and the Cairns Ironman, which he completed last month.
He also attributed his fast times to his new Garmin watch, which keeps a track of his pace.
But the talking point was the epic diet regime, not only on the morning of the race, but in the days leading into the event.
“I went to the shops yesterday afternoon and bought about 20 bananas,” Collins said.
“Between 2am and the start of the race (at 4.30am) I ate 14 and then some along the way from the aid stations.
“I’ve been carb loading in the days leading into it, having 300 to 500 grams of pasta every five hours. The best thing is cutting the lasagne into squares and then putting it in between two pieces of bread!”
Collins, who was also part of the large Weipa Running Festival committee, praised those who took part in the event and lent a hand.
“It’s such a great event and it’s done in the right spirit,” he said.
While he and others took their runs seriously, others were not as well prepared.
Mark Bowden was searching the internet on Saturday night for tips on how to run a half-marathon in under two hours.
His Googling paid off, with the local stopping the clock in 1:52:57.
Young speedsters Lang Haines and Tanna de Tournouer both set new course records in 5km events.
Remarkably, they both eclipsed their own records set in 2022.
Tony Clarke put a gap on the blokes in the 10km run, but it was Weipa teenager Bridie Maher who finished first in a slick time of 46:19.
Lizzy Bagnall produced a very slick time in the half-marathon, finishing almost eight minutes in front of her nearest rival.
Laurie Preece was second over the line, however did win the male category.
Passionate parkrunner Erica Leota won the female marathon after making the trip from Brisbane for the weekend.
A special mention to Cairns woman Lorraine Lawson, who ran her third marathon in three days on Sunday.
She ran the same course on both Friday and Saturday.
“This is my ninth for the month and it’s just something I do because I enjoy it,” she said.
“It’s a lovely course and I just like being out there running at my own pace.”
2023 Weipa Running Festival results
1st Lang Haines 23:01
2nd James Salee 24:57
3rd Teale Haines 24:59
1st Tanna de Tournouer 23:27
2nd Rosie Lynch 25:14
3rd Alana Smith 25:45
1st Tony Clarke 50:16
2nd Rory Harrington 54:32
3rd Sam Harbison 55:35
1st Bridie Maher 46:19
2nd Amanda Curry 50:41
3rd Nicole Widmer 53:08
1st Laurie Preece 1:49:06
2nd Mark Bowden 1:52:57
3rd Ratu Davui 1:53:27
1st Lizzy Bagnall 1:41:30
2nd Alannah Macauley 2:07:28
3rd Bethany King 2:07:32
1st Michael Collins 3:20:29
2nd Bradlee Ginn 3:47:53
3rd Marco Faeta 3:49:02
1st Erica Leota 4:28:54
2nd Liz O’Connor 5:39:30
3rd Lorraine Lawson 5:39:48