Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 2nd April 2023
People of Pro Running – Martine Beer
By David Griffin
Martine Beer started running as a 10-year-old. Now 51 years of age, she has over 40 years of running in her legs, 24 of those years as a Pro.
She doesn’t know how many sashes she has won and really doesn’t care. Her love of running and the people in it, are the reasons she keeps going.
Martine is a pioneer amongst the ranks of the pro runners in Victoria. A rarity, she holds a position like no other in the Victorian Athletic League and stands alone as the only female trainer in the state. Not that she thinks about it much, she doesn’t. She just likes being part of the sport and amongst its people.
A passionate coach, Martine has been known to vigorously uphold the rights of her athletes. To many that’s the best type of coach.
In between training sessions, the mother of two works as a practice manager of a physiotherapist in Endeavor Hills, and like all Pro athletes is looking forward to Stawell.
With Easter only a week away, Martine spent some time talking about her stable, the secret to success, the sport and her grief at losing her best friend and former training partner, Sean Quilty.
56 year old Quilty succumbed to cancer in 2022. Martine read a poem at his funeral. There wasn’t a dry eye to be seen. The VAL and athletic community across Australia felt the passing of “Doona”. Perhaps Martine felt it more than most.
This is the Martine Beer story.
The passing of Doona has really hurt me and has changed my life forever. My squad, his best friends, miss him terribly and we talk about him all the time.
I miss him every day and sadly I know I can never pick up the phone again or hear his laugh or have an argument with him. He was so good at an argument, even if he was wrong he would argue to wind people up.
Doona was one of the modest unassuming people you could ever meet. He would always just go about his training and get it done. The people who make it to the top level in sport are just so meticulous and routine driven. Doona was like that. He would train at midnight if he needed to.
He taught me patience and not to be so hard on myself. He was very calm and I’m the opposite. I am full of beans and he was just calm and confident.
I know when Stawell comes around we will all shed a tear for Doona and run with him in our hearts.
I have met some of my best friends through running and these people mean a lot more than just being a training partner, they are my dearest friends. You get to go away and just hang out with your friends, drink coffee and have nice lunches and lots of laughs and banter.
Our squad trains together about three or four times a week at either Waverley or Monash University.
We have about 15 people in our group ranging in ages from 21-68 years and both male and female.
Pro running is a chance for people of all abilities to be competitive and hopefully win a race at some point.
As we get older, everyone knows we slow down, so it’s good to run and still have chances of making a final and maybe winning a race with a sash as the reward.
The track is just a happy place, despite what else might be going on in your life. It’s the best feeling ever watching and getting to experience your friend’s success. I get more nervous watching them race than running myself.
I don’t have a secret to success but I know the group I train, work really hard and we work as a team more than anything.
I just love running and the pros provide an environment to still be able to race and feel good about your running. It gives people something to train for and set goals along the way.
When you’re happy and enjoying your running that’s when the improvement comes and you get the confidence you need to push a bit harder and run well.
I don’t have a clue how many races I have won but one of the most memorable was the women’s 550 metres at Bay Sheffield. I won by an eyelash. It was so close. I thought I was home 60 metres out from the finish line but the other girl just kept finding and finding, she was so good. It took a long time for the photo finish to be done.
I just fell into training. I am so blessed to have good runners around me. I don’t know why there aren’t more females. Maybe it has something to do with kids and families, I’m not really sure.
When my kids were growing up I took them to training all the time. All the runners can bring their kids to training if they want to do that. It’s a family environment and that’s why I love it.
Being a distance runner and never racing less than 400 metres, I suppose I have never been confronted with the problem of less prize money. The only thing that I find unfair at times, is that you run two 800s and get $10 prizemoney. It’s so hard!
I am looking forward to Stawell this year. Its every pro runner’s Olympics. No matter what has happened over the year, you just want to do your best and be part of an amazing carnival that has such a rich history.
There is no other feeling than heading to Central Park on the Friday to get a program, smell the grass and feel the buzz in the air.
I have been going to Stawell since my kids were born 23 years ago. My kids love it. Its tradition.
I won the Women’s and Veterans Mile at Stawell and I have never missed a Women’s 800 meters at Stawell since it started.
It’s just so exciting. It’s full of dreams and of course the tummy nerves.
My goal is to one day do Fashions at Central Park at Stawell. I am always running and I just don’t get a chance. A ponytail, running shorts and a crop top just doesn’t do it.
I will always run but I think that we have an expiry date as far as competing. I don’t know when my time will come but I will always remain in the sport. It’s a simple thing for me, I just love it.
Photo is of Martine with Sean after winning one of his many sashes at Stawell.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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