By LAWRENCE MACHADO
MICHAEL WHOLOHAN is our marathon ace, having clocked 81 to date, including five of the world’s most famous races. He is keen to nail his 100th within the next two years, all things going well.
The long-time cricket coach has raised more than $25,000 for charities, including the Breast Cancer Foundation and the McGrath Foundation, having lost his father Trevor – a well-respected cricket administrator at NSW and Penrith CC – to bowel cancer four years ago.
Wholohan, 55, has always loved running, but it was only after he completed his first marathon in Canberra in 2007 that he “caught the bug”. “My running partner and I completed the marathon in a tick over four hours and I was happy with that,” Wholohan said. “I had no idea (it would be) the first of many marathons.”
When COVID-19 disrupted his marathon schedule, he joined a virtual marathon competition in the US, to run 15 races, the most he has done for a year. “This year, I ran eight marathons and hopefully I will get two or three more by December,” Wholohan said. “I train around five to six days a week and also go to the gym.
“I am proud I completed five of the six majors on the world circuit, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, London and Berlin. I was going to do Boston before Covid-19 hit us. I hope to run in Boston in 2023 and claim the Abbot’s Six Star Medal for completing all major marathons.
“All these majors are absolutely fantastic and unique. It’s very hard to pick the best but for me it is the New York Marathon because there are millions of fans lining the streets, running down to Central Park, with bands playing and children handing out lollies along the way.
“My wife, Joanne, who is a physiotherapist, is my support team and accompanies me on my marathons and I could not do them without her. My best time for competition is 3.41 hours and I am trying to break the 3.30 mark though I am getting on a bit. When I can’t run marathons any longer, I will walk and then crawl!”
A full-time teacher at Jamison High School for three decades, Wholohan is the head coach at Hawkesbury CC, after spending 18 years with Penrith where he saw the emergence of Australian star Patrick Cummings, and state players Josh Lalor and Jordan Silk, among others.
Under Wholohan’s watch, Penrith won two Club Championships, First Grade premiership, First Grade limited-overs premiership, several lower grade and under-21 premierships.
Wholohan is excited about coaching Hawkesbury, which will field teams in five grades and the Under-21 competition. “Hawkesbury has produced great players who have represented Australia like John Hastings, Peter Forrest and Stephen O’Keefe, who is probably it’s proudest product,” he said.
“The Hawkesbury contract came up at the right time and the Penrith players too needed a new hand,” Wholohan said. His son and NSW representative, Jake, played for Penrith before moving to Hawkesbury CC three years ago. The scheduled start of the Sydney cricket season is November 6.