by callum dick
Running: Brisbane-based runner Ryan Clancy overcame a calf tear to blitz the field in Sunday's Maidenwell Marathon.
Clancy was joined by four other members of his Portside Panthers running club, in what served as one of the final opportunities to post a qualifying time for the Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa.
Clancy ran an impressive 3 hours 28 minutes over the 41.195km course to confirm his place at the 89km annual event, but said he owed a lot to his teammates for helping him achieve the time.
"(Fellow Panthers runner) Matt paced some of the other guys and myself early in the run and let me run away towards the end there,” Clancy said.
"Everyone else has run more than one race this weekend so I got it easy. Matt would have run over 90kms for the weekend.”
Clancy was a last-minute entrant to Sunday's race, after debating whether or not to test the troublesome calf. But spurred on by his Panthers clubmates, Clancy put the injury out of his mind.
"(Matt) helped me post a qualifying time, it was a very selfless run from him today,” Clancy said.
"We were looking at coming in sub-3 hours 40, so it was pretty comfortable. I just wanted to stretch and see how my legs were feeling.”
Clancy admitted running at Maidenwell was a wholly different experience to his usual training runs in Brisbane, and one he was thankful to have taken.
"We've traded in hungover people in gutters for kangaroos on the track, so it's a nice change for the training session that's for sure,” Clancy said.
"It was beautiful this morning with the sunrise. It's a tough course, a bit undulating, and running through the paddock there's potholes and things that you don't normally experience around Brisbane. But it was good.”
The former Toowoomba man said it was the mind over body challenge that motivates him to get up to train at 4am most mornings.
"It's difficult to get up for a 40km run on a Saturday, but it's all about the challenge really, especially when you're running with good people,” Clancy said.
"Getting outside and looking around is always great - plus you can't get up to too much trouble when you're up at 4am for training.
"It's just a matter of trying to push myself, just getting into the zone and plugging away.”
Clancy confirmed he would be returning for next year's edition of the Festival, where he hopes to add another cowbell to his trophy cabinet.
"(The cowbell) is just awesome I love it, it's such a unique prize,” Clancy said.
"That we're here is testament to the fact it's a good event. You can bring the children out here to run around and have a good time, and it's really accessible too.
"The locals have been so welcoming, it's been a joy because everyone is so pleasant. I'll come back next year for sure.”
Clancy's focus now turns to training for the Durban to Pietermaritzburg Ultramarathon on June 4.