It hasn't been an easy time of late for Port Macquarie runner Clifford Hoeft.
His battle with multiple sclerosis was at the forefront of his mind at South West Rocks Running Festival over the weekend, but he overcame the pain to register his second-straight marathon win at the Rocks.
"While it wasn't a personal best record, it was a significant achievement given the setbacks I've had this year. It wasn't the easiest thing to do," he said.
"I suffer from chronic pain due to my condition and a lot of the battle is trying to overcome that pain threshold and try and focus on the running.
"I knew it was going to be a challenge because I haven't been able to train for any marathon like this for the last month and I was really relying on my experience as a runner."
Hoeft has previously competed at the festival on five previous occasions which made him "more than familiar" with the conditions.
"I won it in 2019 and it was cancelled last year so I've been waiting another year to defend my title," Hoeft said.
"It's a constant struggle (with MS), but you've just got to maintain focus and try not to let the pain that is a result of the condition become too overwhelming.
"It's not something that's easy and I will definitely have an extended rehabilitation post the event. I'll have no significant running for another month."
The win in the gruelling 42.2 kilometre race forms the perfect preparation for the upcoming Beach to Brother event in Port Macquarie on September 26.
"It's a good little warm-up," he said.
But other than the personal accolades that accompany such an individual effort, Hoeft said it was just as important to the overall Run Port Mac team he was a member of.
"A lot of success like this is due to having a great social network around you and my teammates at Run Port Mac helped support me through this difficult time," he said.
"It was our first official event as a team.
"We're not focused just on physical health, but mental health and social interactions. We embrace diversity and it does help to face those challenges and engage with people who also have their own struggles.
"Superseding my marathon effort is that the team took out the best represented club so festivals like these are an important event on the calendar."
Partial Results List
For a complete list of results, and more information about the South West Rocks Running Festival, visit their website at: southwestrocksrunfest.com.au.
Macleay River Marathon
Over 40 runners took part in the 42.2 kilometre Marathon event this year; 39 of those managed to finish.
1.First over the line was Clifford Hoeft, with a finish time of 03:18:50.
2.Coming in a relatively close second was Kirby Clarke with a time of 03:31:36.
3.Rounding out the rest of the top three was Peter Hancock, who finished in 03:35:08.
This year the 21.1km Half Marathon had 143 people participate, with 139 ultimately finishing the course.
1.Coming in first was Tim Dennis, with a finish time of 01:14:08.
2.Close behind in second place was Isaiah Koopmans on 01:14:44.
3.In third place was John Doyle 01:17:13.
10 Kilometre Run
The always popular10 Kilometre Run had the largest number of participants, with 176 signing up for the event, and 166 finishers.
1.Joe Begbie was the first runner across the line with a time of 00:32:27.
2.Ryan Binskin took out second place with a time of 00:33:30.
3.Stuart Eddy came in third with a time of 00:33:39.
5 Kilometre Fun Run
Over 150 people signed up for the5 Kilometre Fun Run this year, and 146 managed to get across the line.
1.In first place was Ryan Binskin with a lighting fast time of 00:16:27.
2.Trent Alley came in second with a time of 00:16:59.
3.In third, was Keelan Brien with a time of 00:17:29.
The 2021 South West Rocks Running Festival was sponsored by Coastline Credit Union, Kempsey Shire Council, South West Rocks Country Club, DGI trading Australia, CDCM Kitchens + Bathrooms, South West Rocks Family Dental Surgery and Booroongen Djugun LTD Community Care Service.
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