“Beyond the Singlet”, November 2023, edition #3 with a 40-year Harriers veteran, “the man, the myth, the legend” that is Max Giblett.

How and when did you get into running?

Always seemed to have been running, from early days of Primary School, I would run to and from School, then into High School as a representative in Track and Cross-Country events. After leaving school I ran as an “Unregistered Athlete” in Gift carnivals around Northern Victoria.

During my days of playing football, there was always a Fun Run here or there that I participated in, major catalyst into serious running was more by luck than any planning. In 1979 we missed out in playing finals, a couple of team mates decided that they would run the Melbourne Marathon, thus plans were afoot to assist them in their endeavour, my task was to Run the first 30 km up from Frankston to Gardenvale, where after another mate would take over and my wife would pick me up, best of plans do go awry, could not find Di, thus the only option was to run the last 12 km to the Melbourne Town Hall, this was finally accomplished in just short of 4 hours with severe sun burn.

No further involvement with Marathons, until in 1981 a memo was circulated at work, Red Tulip Chocolates, enquiring as to, had anyone ran a Marathon, still don’t know what prompted me to answer in the affirmative after that torturous 1979 effort, but about 3 weeks later I was summoned to the MD’s office and advised, if willing, that I was invited to represent the Australian group of companies in the Chicago Marathon, which in those days was sponsored by Beatrice Foods, our Parent Company. Football was abandoned; with 8 weeks before race day, I joined a running group that trained out of Melbourne High School, gradually my running fitness improved, off to Chicago and ran 3hours 8 minutes, pretty chuffed with that, returned to Melbourne a fortnight later in the Melbourne Marathon, ran 3hours 2 minutes.

Thus the “hook was well and truly in the mouth” kept training, headed to Canberra the following April and ran 2 hours 53 minutes, the news of this effort permeated back to management at Red Tulip and another invitation to compete in Chicago was on offer, this time I gave up the Business Class ticket with a request for Di to accompany me, both on Economy tickets, this was agreed on. I don’t know as to whether it was her company but it definitely helped, I ran 2 hours 40 minutes 8 seconds, to place first in the Corporate section and be part of the Beatrice team that for the first time in the history of Marathon relegated the Chicago Police to second place!!!!!

How long have you been a member of the Richmond Harriers?
We had purchased our first home in Richmond in 1980, so in my runs around the Suburb I had noticed a group of runners heading off up the High Boulevard or towards the Tan, but my involvement with Melbourne High group and studying at Swinburne Uni, I did not reach out to them, until May 1983 when enjoying a cool ale at the Spread Eagle one Friday evening, whilst sporting a Chicago Marathon tee shirt, I was approached by Brendan McVeigh with an invite to came down to the Harriers, there was a run on the High Boulevard the next day, thus 40 years later I am still here!!!

You have been running for a long time, what is your preferred distance and surface (road or trails etc)?
Never endowed with “Short muscle fibres” so sprinting was not an option, but my Aerobic capacity suited longer distances, at school 880 yards, Mile and Cross-Country events, whilst training for Marathons it was everything from 5 to 30 km’s, at the Harriers, whilst there was the occasional track appearance, the XCR season appealed, be that Road or Cross Country.
Over the last 6 years the Studley Parkrun has been a regular Saturday morning commitment, initially heeding the advice of Jim Perrie and Michael Gowers to join in, must have been catching now 52 Harriers have participated at Studley, with an average of about 12 runners each Saturday morning for the challenging 5 km run followed by the obligatory coffee!!!

Over your running journey, what has been your biggest running goal or achievement?
All achievements are relevant to the time, at High School I won the Cross Country, later on breaking 3 hours at the Canberra Marathon then the run in 1982 Chicago Marathon is all etched in one’s memory!!
But probably the most important has been longevity, the friends one has made over the last 40 years it has been a very enjoyable journey!!

What are you preferred running shoes (or currently wearing)?
Neil Ryan has kept me shod over the years, initially Nike, but over the last couple of years Brooks!!

Besides running, what other forms of exercise/physical activity do you enjoy?
Walking and gardening are now the alternate physical activities; fingers crossed that after years of Football, Squash, Cricket and Basketball the joints are holding together!!!

What does a weekly running schedule currently look like for you?
Very much the social participant these days, a leisurely 10 km on Tuesday morning with the “Retiree” group, 8 to 10 km Wednesday evening at the Harriers, 5 km around home on Friday then the Parkrun on Saturday, this along with some long walks on Sunday and Thursday is my lot!!!

Do you have a running idol/mentor you that inspires you?

Steve Moneghetti, an athlete who stated that he lacked “natural ability” is probably Australia’s best longer distance runner; I can still remember his performance in a Cross Country relay at Brimbank Park, where he made up about 45 seconds over 6 km to anchor Ballarat YCW to victory. He continues to set the bar, now into his 60’s!!

This can be a bit of a debated question in running circles…headphones or no headphones when running?
I battle to feel comfortable with a cap or beanie so definitely no headphones, these days “sans timepiece”.

You are hosting a dinner party and who would be 5 guests you would invite (can be anyone)?
Pheidippides (Original runner from Marathon to Athens Greece, after the ‘Battle of Marathon, Steve Moneghetti (Veteran Australian distance runner and 4 x Olympian), my Father, Mother and Wife- Di.

What would be the main course at this dinner party?

Your favourite running books/podcasts?
Not into Podcasts, but a memorable read was “Master Coach” by Arthur Lydiard!!!

Running event or place in the world that is the top of your bucket list?
My bucket hath runneth over, no more bucket lists!!!

Favourite place to run (can be anywhere in the world)?
Can recall having a great run around Muckross Lake near Killarney, Ireland, the countryside was just idyllic!!!!

Cheers for joining us today Max and stay tuned to see who our next member under the spotlight will be next month.

Categories: Beyond the singlet


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