In these challenging times, we all experience our own specific set of trials and tribulations.

For Murrumbateman local Matt Fletcher, after months of training, it became apparent he would not be able to run in the Adelaide Marathon this year due to the border closure. Matt decided instead that he’d run a marathon he’d mapped out in Canberra. However, as the day drew nearer and Canberra was plunged into lockdown, those plans were thrown out the window as well.

After two sets of plans fell through, the easy thing to do would be to accept that there were too many obstacles in his way. However, one doesn’t typically start running marathons if taking the easy option is something they’re interested in doing.

Matt instead began planning a marathon track locally using the fitness app Strava. While he made his plans with his wife Amy on when and where she would meet him throughout his run, Amy headed online in secret to reach out to the community of Murrumbateman and see if they were interested in supporting Matt by donating funds to Lifeline. Their response was both instant and overwhelming.

Amy presented her fundraising efforts to Matt before his run on Sunday to show him that while the physical presence of support provided by typical marathons wouldn’t be available, a whole community was behind him, wanting to see him do well.

“It was my fifth marathon so I know what to expect now, but there will definitely be no running for a couple of days,” said a sore Matt on Monday.

“For the last little while my goal has been to do a marathon in every state before I’m 40 and Adelaide was the next location.”

“Because I’d been training for so long I didn’t want to throw it all away and still wanted to do a marathon on that same date,” he said.

Being a complete surprise for Matt, the reveal of fundraising support prior to his run was a significant motivation for him.

“It was pretty overwhelming, and I guess that’s why we love living out here. Everyone’s pretty community minded.”

Matt ran a time of 3:38 (3 hours 38 minutes), which was his second quickest marathon ever, despite being a little slower than he had hoped.

“I did a faster time in Melbourne, slightly, but that was a much flatter course.”

“It was slower than my goal. I really hit the wall 32 kilometres in,” he said.

Matt spent the afternoon with a nap in the sun, followed by a well-deserved bottle of wine and a barbecue dinner.

To contribute to Matt’s fundraising, head to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matt-fletcher220821. As of Wednesday morning, they have raised $1250 for Lifeline.

Max O’Driscoll