Marathon champ in awards race

November 17, 2023 BY

Focused: Jill Wilkie’s time in the recent Chicago Marathon made her an age group world champion. Photo: AJ TAYLOR

A WORLD marathon champion in the fifty-five to fifty-nine-year-old class, Jill Wilkie is the latest to join the race for Bendigo Sports Star of the Year for 2023.

Wilkie’s feat to run the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours 57.16 minutes in October meant she captured the WADA world title for the first time.

It was her 14th marathon start.

“A goal was to beat the three-hour mark,” Wilkie said. “I had run a marathon in under three hours once before, so to do so in Chicago was incredibly satisfying.”

Among those watching in Chicago was husband, David.

“He is an amazing supporter,” she said.

The WADA age group awards were first run three years ago, but Wilkie missed both previous starts which were in London.

Her first marathon start was in Melbourne in 2013.

“I was only going to do the one marathon, but it’s now at 14,” Wilkie said. “After the first marathon I thought I would have another go and try to be faster.”

Since then she has clocked up thousands of kilometres in training and travelling to compete in the world’s six major marathons in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, and Tokyo.

She is one of several Bendigo-based athletes in the Six Star Club.

In winter she played a key role in Bendigo Bats winning the women’s 50-plus division of the On-backed cross-country series run by Athletics Victoria.

Just last Saturday it was Park Run at the Bendigo Botanic Gardens in White Hills.

“I really enjoy running, whether it be competing or Park Run,” Wilkie said. “There is a great camaraderie, whether you are a long-time runner or new and just keen to have a go.”

When not running, Wilkie is a radiographer at Bendigo Health.

Running objectives for next year include the Sydney Marathon in September which incorporate the world age group titles.