LAUNCESTON athlete John Claridge broke three hours at yesterday's annual Ross Marathon despite suffering severe cramps for the final 10-kilometre lap.
Claridge collapsed after crossing the line in 2:53:13, but paramedics tended to him immediately and he was walking around comfortably a couple of minutes later.
``There was very little practice going into the event, but conditions were really good this year, quite warm, and it was a good race,'' Claridge said later.
``I finished in under three hours and I was happy with that _ the calf really went with about four kilometres to go, it was horrible.''
Although he led nearly all the way, Claridge admitted that his race plan this year had just been to finish.
Jay Flashgordon, of Hobart, entered the marathon but switched to the 10-kilometre race on the day.
He won in 34 minutes 57 seconds and said that he only did so well because of the number of class athletes who raced at the cross-country championships the day before.
``That was always going to open the door for chumps like me,'' he said.
``I felt pretty good and quite a few runners kept me honest for the first five kilometres, but I had a crack and made the most of it.''
Race director Casey Mainsbridge said that the Ross Marathon was a boutique event that was very good for the local economy.
``It's all about participation and we get entries from all over the mainland and even overseas,'' Mainsbridge said.
``One entrant, Ching-Te Huang, was running in his third Ross event and this year marked his 105th marathon in as many weeks.''
RESULTS _ WOMAN'S MARATHON 1st Ami Lamprecht (3:13:46), 2nd Melissa Clark (3:40:50), 3rd Jemina Stuart-Smith (3:53:28).
MEN'S MARATHON 1st John Claridge (2:53:13), 2nd Andrew Law (2:59:17), 3rd Mark Leis (3:00:50).
WOMEN'S HALF-MARATHON 1st Ruth Wilson (1:26:37), 2nd Fiona Lennon (1:32:08), 3rd Bree Hunter (1:32:37).
MEN'S HALF-MARATHON 1st David O'Brien (1:20:28), 2nd William Yee (1:22:37), 3rd Mark Hannan (1:24:01).
WOMEN'S 10KM 1st Deborah Gardner (40:41), 2nd Carolyn Davis (41:30), 3rd Andrea Marquardt (41:39).
MEN'S 10KM 1st Jay Flashgordon (34:57), 2nd Brady Butcher (36:10), 3rd Chester James-Smith (36:33).
CHILDREN'S CHALLENGE, GIRLS 1st Abbie Butler, 2nd Siena Fell, 3rd Lucy Taranto. BOYS 1st George McLeod, 2nd Tee Jay Wagg, 3rd Mitchell Butler.