LAUNCESTON runner Josh Harris finished a creditable 11th overall and was the third Australian home to pick up an individual national bronze medal in the Australian marathon championships in Sydney yesterday.
The 23-year-old university student, who is the state 5000 and 10,000-metre champion, led the field at the 28-kilometre mark in his national debut but faded over the latter stages as the temperature increased to finish the 42km course in two hours, 31 minutes and five seconds.
He had hoped to break two hours 20 minutes.
``I was slightly disappointed with the time,'' Harris said.
``I was feeling good through half-way and I was the first Australian until the 28km mark and then the last 14km wasn't quite as good and I dropped back a little bit.
``I was still quite happy to take home a bronze medal in a national championship - that's not too bad at all.''
Harris said he was `real sore' and could barely walk after the race.
``At the start of the race the conditions weren't too bad but as time went on it got quite warm and especially being from Tassie - it was probably about 16 or 17 degrees and over two-and-a-half hours or running that took its toll and was a big factor over why I slowed over the last third of the race in the end,'' he said.
``I do think I'm in 2:20 shape but probably the climate was the main reason I slowed down.''
Harris said he would now take some time off to give his body time to recover and depending on how he felt might contest the Burnie Ten next month.
``I would like to continue running marathons and I think I'm quite versatile at the moment and can run any distance from 1500m up,'' he said.
``I will run marathons in the future but next time I might try overseas in a better climate where it is maybe five degrees and doesn't heat up.''
Harris said the other Tasmanian team members in Tasmanian marathon silver medallist Jay Gordon and fellow Sandy Bay runner Daniel Clarke ended up in hospital and Northern Suburbs runner David O'Brien finished in two hours, 58 minutes.