SOMETIMES it takes a pat on the back and some good advice from a stranger to get you motivated – well at least that was the case for Charlie Martel.
The wiry 52-year-old currently holds the record for the 1 mile, 3km, 5km, 10km and half marathon in Mackay.
After competing for 25 years, the Hughenden-born athlete is still as enthusiastic as ever.
Especially about hills.
According to his mates at the Mackay Road Runners club, Charlie makes mountains look like molehills with his ability to scale them with speed.
He has, after all, won the King of the Mountain competition in the Noosa Hinterland 13 times.
Charlie discovered his love of running when he moved to Mackay.
“A friend was always trying to get me to come for a run… but I’d never get around to it,” Charlie says.
“But one day he just came to my house and said, “grab your shoes – we’re going for a run.”
It turned out that Charlie’s mate was taking him to the Mackay Road Runners, a running club with regular competitions like the Magic Mile and the Mackay Half Marathon (now the Mackay Marina Run).
Charlie ran 16km that first day, and sure felt every kilometre the next morning.
“The only toilet in my house was downstairs,” Charlie says.
“I was in so much pain I had to walk down the stairs sideways.”
In his second training session with the club, Charlie was running the ‘powder puff’ race (the 9km) while the other guys ran the 27km.
“I looked behind me and [this guy] Fred Farmer was right there,” recalls Charlie.
“As he went past me he patted me on the back, which nearly had me falling over, I was so worn out, and he said, ‘how’s it going Charlie?’”
“I asked how’d he gotten there so fast.
“And he replied, ‘just a bit of training boy’”.
Thanks to ‘a bit of training’ Charlie was soon the one racing ahead and breaking records.
He also became firm friends with Fred.
“I’ll always remember that training day… how things have changed,” he says.
Four years ago Fred was diagnosed with Leukaemia, but thanks to his fitness levels, will be able to receive cell treatment.
“He’s only able to get the treatment because he’s been running all his life,” Charlie says.
“His 25-year-old doctor was like, ’holy hell you’re fitter than me’.”
The Mackay Marina Run helps support research for the Leukaemia Foundation.
With any luck there will be a couple of hills.
Find out more about the Mackay Marina Run at www.mackayroadrunners.com
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