LET'S GO: Michelle Hansen completed her first marathon, while Angela Clarke finished her last half marathon. Photo: Madeline Grace
LET'S GO: Michelle Hansen completed her first marathon, while Angela Clarke finished her last half marathon. Photo: Madeline Grace

FIRST MARATHON: ‘I feel like a superstar’

KINGAROY'S Michelle Hansen and Angela Clarke took matters into their own hands when coronavirus and social distancing prevented them from participating in a marathon at Hervey Bay on the weekend.

The women took to the South Burnett Rail Trail instead, where Hansen completed her first marathon of 42.19km.

Meanwhile Clarke, 80, finished her last half marathon of 21.098km.

Both runners are part of the Kingaroy Go Getta Girls running group, and were meant to compete in the Bay Break marathon on the weekend.

The event went ahead, but runners competed virtually - clocking up the distance in their home towns following social distancing rules.

Hansen joined Go Getta Girls four years ago when she decided she wanted to try running.

"The best thing about running is that anyone can do it," she said.

"I'd never run before and now look at me.

"I was always the chubby girl who was bullied at school but now I run nearly every day, and I actually enjoy it."

Hansen said she loved running and felt amazing after completing her goal.

"It was an amazing experience and a four-year journey for me," she said.

"I went from not running at all to running an entire marathon. It was my dream.

"To be able to do it in my own community was just phenomenal."

GO GETTA GIRLS: Angela Clarke and Michelle Hansen run together every week. Photo: Madeline Grace
GO GETTA GIRLS: Angela Clarke and Michelle Hansen run together every week. Photo: Madeline Grace

Hansen said the support from her friends, family, and community was overwhelming.

"I have just felt so supported today and all along my journey which has been great and made the experience really special to me," she said.

"All my friends, family, and the girls from the group and their families came out to support us.

"People were waving and cheering me on along the way and when I got to the end.

"I just can't believe any of it. I feel like a superstar.

"It's been an especially nice mood booster after such a tough week with running my small business and coronavirus. My husband and I own Hansen Kitchens and have been doing it tough lately."

Clarke said she had been running marathons and half marathons for more than 40 years.

"I just really love running," she said.

"My advice for people interested is that they just need to start.

"Join the Kingaroy Go Getta Girls or another running group and just give it a go."

Hansen said if she could do it, then anybody could.