Bega resident Russell Dessaix-Chin has run one of his best marathon's to claim third place at the Cologne Marathon in Germany, his first podium outside of Australia.
Dessaix-Chin ran a blistering time of two hours, 26 minutes and 35 seconds in the marathon to take the bronze medal and record his third-fastest marathon time.
The marathon was the culmination of a year-long training regime that began on the roads of the Bega Valley in 2021.
Dessaix-Chin told the Bega District News he'd drafted off two of the best young endurance runners in Germany into a headwind for the first kilometre, but was forced too let them go as their pace was "too hot" for the 44-year-old.
However, the early pace had separated him from the rest of the field, and he completed the remaining 41 kilometres of the race out on his own with only his elite bike support for company.
He held on to third place despite a strong finish from the runner behind him in the closing stages of the race.
"Going for it solo is absolutely the hardest way to finish a marathon, let alone try and run a personal best over the distance," Dessaix-Chin said after the race.
"Despite being told by the race organisers beforehand that they wouldn't be able to get me a pacemaker for my aimed time, I had confidence in my training and preparation leading up to the race and thought I'd have a decent crack even if I had to go it alone at some point - I just didn't think that point would be from 1km!
"I was on pace for the first half, but then faded for the next 15km before rallying a bit as I knew that fourth place was coming for me.
"The assistance I got from my friend Christoph on the bike was also essential for keeping my head in the game as I drifted off the pace."
Dessaix-Chin said that while he didn't get close to his personal best, it was still "super cool" to make the podium of a European marathon.
"The crowds and atmosphere were the best I've ever experienced in any race," he said. "I think it's easily my favourite marathon so far in my career.
"The training journey for this race has also been one of the best in a long time, and it all started with long runs on the Buckajo Road with Glenn Edmonds and Sam Hodges many months ago.
"The run in general felt heaps stronger than my Canberra Marathon at the start of the year, so I know that I'm fit."
Following a short period of time to recover, Dessaix-Chin will commence training for the Masters World Cross Country Championships that are being held in Bathurst next February.
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