Lisa Weightman - Olympic Sports - PlayersVoice
Lisa Weightman - Olympic Sports - PlayersVoice

Olympic Sports

Remembering an Aussie hero

Lisa Weightman - Contributor

Home  >  Sports  >  More Sports  >  Olympic Sports

Olympic Sports

Remembering an Aussie hero


I’ll never forget the finish of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games marathon when Kerryn McCann beat Helen Cherono Kosgei of Kenya to take gold for Australia in front of a packed MCG.


I wasn’t in the stadium but I watched it on TV with my family and when I think about that race, I remember Kerryn running over the footbridge near the MCG and feeling how much strength was required at that point in time.


Knowing how it feels to be at that stage of a marathon, I remember thinking how the excitement and anticipation of making the right move would have been in her head.


That footbridge is actually a hill. We go over it in the Melbourne marathon, and I recall thinking how she’d be saying to herself: ‘How much has this competitor next to me got left? What is my move going to be? At what point do I try to shrug her off?’.


It was so exciting the way she made her move on the track inside the stadium. She had the lift of the entire MCG crowd, and I think that had a huge impact on how she came through and did it for the country, for herself, and for her family. She could feel that gold medal was right there and available to her.


McCann tragically died of breast cancer in 2008 leaving behind a husband and three beautiful children. I was in a squad called the ‘Prime Minister’s five’ squad in 2003, and I was fortunate to have Kerryn as my mentor.


When I think of her, she is someone who I’ve always aspired to be like. She and Lisa Ondieki have been role models for me since I was very young standing next to my coach Dick Telford as a teenager watching them run and thinking to myself how amazing it would be to run that fast.


I knew Kerryn as both a friend and competitor because I raced against her a few times. But above all I knew her as a beautiful person. She was so respected in our sport, as a beautiful mum and wife, and as an amazing athlete. She supported all her teammates and that’s the sort of person I want to be remembered as too.


When I think of Kerryn, it’s not just about that gold medal performance. I think of the person she was, and how she juggled training, being a wife, sister, daughter and being a mum to her wonderful children.


Everyone just loved Kerryn, and when she ran across the line on the track and went to her family and did the lap of honour with her son, the amazement on her face still brings tears to my eyes.





My life is also a constant juggle. I’m up at about quarter past five. I head out for a run, then shower and change and go into the office and do my day’s work after my mum arrives to look after my three-year-old son Pete.


After work, I meet my husband Lachlan – also a runner – at home. We do a session which could go for a couple of hours, then we come back inside after eight to Pete and my mum.  They are usually giggling about something while Pete stalls the go-to-bed process and it always brings a smile to my face!


Some days I’m fortunate enough to work from home, and on those days I still get up and run before Lachlan goes to work, then I’ll be back at home doing conference calls and other pieces of work depending on my client engagement at the time, and doing kinder drop-offs in amongst that.


My nephew’s over a couple of days after school too, so I set him up to do his homework while I continue my work. So yeah, it’s just a constant juggle, a constant check-in with family. My sister and I take care of each other’s children to make sure that she’s got the opportunity to get to work as well. We are best friends and our children are best friends too.


What do they say – it takes a village to bring up children? That’s what the Weightman McArthur family is like.


I’m also fortunate to have the support of Lachlan’s parents in Creswick just outside Ballarat. We often go up there on weekends and Pete gets to play in the dirt while Lac and I do some extra training, so it’s a win-win for everyone. I could never have achieved what I’ve achieved without the support of the entire family. I like to take care of my family too. We take care of each other, and that’s how we’ve achieved what we achieved.


My Dad has always said ‘Nothing beats persistence’ and he has been right throughout my career. He’s set the scene for his chickens of never giving up no matter how hard things get and that’s a great quality in my sport.


I certainly don’t hang out at the gym all day like some athletes are fortunate enough to do. I fit in my 170km of running a week and four days of work for IBM and all the other things that go with being a parent, house chores, cooking, playing Lego, teaching my son to ride a scooter, that sort of thing.


What do they say – it takes a village to bring up children? That’s what the Weightman McArthur family is like.


I’m also an ambassador for a group called Running Mums Australia, which is over 30,000 mums networking mostly by Facebook, sharing all their highs and lows, using each other as sounding boards. It’s a lovely community. It’s great to meet other mums and really inspiring to listen to their experiences, and what they’re trying to achieve in life and in their running. I am not your typical, single-focused athlete. Running is my hobby so this makes my life as a juggling parent more relatable and hopefully others can find strength in that.


A lot of people have turned to running as a strength-building activity and a friendship-building activity, and that comes through with Running Mums. Hopefully, I’m giving inspiration to other mums out there that are juggling life, work and trying to be fit and healthy.


I believe that you can call yourself a runner if you put on your shoes and go out for a run. Whether you run for a kilometre, walk, jog, or enter a marathon, you’re still a runner and you’re doing something positive for your health and fitness.





I just came back from Tasmania where I ran an event called the ‘Hobart Run the Bridge”. Their Battle of the Sexes concept race was exciting and appealing. The elite women get a head start on the men, the difference between the elite men’s and women’s course records. I held the women’s record, and I broke it this year by 30 seconds and beat good friend and Olympian Liam Adams.


It was the first time a woman has won the Battle of the Sexes, which has given me a lot of confidence, especially because it’s quite a hilly course.


I’ve been running up to 170 kilometres a week for about three months now, so I’ve got all that work in my legs. Now there are just seven weeks until the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games marathon. I’ll finish work soon and then head to Noosa with the family, where I’ll meet my coach Dick Telford and my fellow teammates Chris Hamer and Michael Shelley to spend four weeks before experiencing the humidity.


There’s not a lot of money to be made in distance running, if any in Australia, but what I get so much satisfaction out of is being a role model for my son and for my nephews and niece and demonstrating that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve amazing things.


If someone had told me when I was in high school that I would become a three time Olympian, a Commonwealth bronze medallist and be off to my second Commonwealth Games at the age of 39, I would’ve thought, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re mad’. But that’s what I’ve achieved by never giving up and never giving in to the hard times.


My Dad has always said ‘Nothing beats persistence’ and he has been right throughout my career.


At 39, it’s been a constant focus for the media and people generally as to how I’m still running so well. My body’s pretty good, knock on wood. I don’t feel that different from when I started running marathons 10 years ago. If anything, I’m feeling stronger.


I had a lot of my traumatic injury years as a runner when I was in my 20s, and I think the main reasons I’m 39 and running PBs are that I started late and built up slowly. I was so injury-prone in my 20s, my coach Dick Telford and I made a decision to take things slowly over the years and try for longevity.  I think this approach has paid off.


I’ve also been very healthy and balanced with my diet, with how I approach recovery and with how I support my body with recovery and nutrition. I’ve been really strict with that, although I still eat chocolate. There’s a tendency with female distance runners to get extremely thin unnaturally by starving themselves and I’ve never been one of those people.


I eat a lot of great quality, nutritional food. Starving yourself may give you an improvement in performance in the short term, but that’s all it will ever be, short term.  Having parents who have always stressed the importance of nutrition is important.  This is a key reason I’ve had a long career and I’m still going.





Kerryn was very sick with breast cancer when my husband and I got married on the 7th of December 2008. Steve Moneghetti, a very close friend, was at our wedding ceremony. He told us that morning that he was going to head up to see Kerryn after the ceremony, as it would be a chance to say goodbye.


Sadly Kerryn passed away the night of our wedding. On our wedding anniversary, we remember that time. It’s sad, but it means that Kerryn is always in our thoughts.


Thoughts of Kerryn might sneak into my head during the marathon on the streets of the Gold Coast. I had a wonderful psychologist who also passed away from cancer recently who I miss dearly. Her name was Paulette Mifsud and she will also be in my thoughts on that day. There are a lot of people that help you in your career, and Paulette helped my career immensely.  She taught me the importance of visualisation and how to deal with adversity, injuries and the pain of a marathon in the latter stages.


Kerryn was so respected in our sport, as a beautiful mum and wife, and as an amazing athlete. She supported all her teammates and that’s the sort of person I want to be remembered as too.


Another close friend of mine, Jane Wilson, also died of breast cancer just after giving birth to her gorgeous daughter. She was a runner too, the sister of World Champion triathlete Emma Carney. These three women have touched my life, left amazing legacies and I hope I can do them all proud.


I won bronze in the Commonwealth Games marathon in Delhi and it would be awesome to go one or two better on the Gold Coast. I have the records for the half marathon and the 10k on the Gold Coast, so it’ll be almost like being on home soil even though I’m a Melbourne girl. The Kenyans are always going to be fit and fast, but I am someone who is striving for my best every time I put my foot on the line, so anything is possible.


I think I’ve been told I was too old since I was about 31. But here I am at 39 and still going, and I’ve been able to be Australia’s fastest marathon runner since 2009. I don’t know how long I’ll be that, but while I’m improving and running well and enjoying it, I’ll just keep going.


One day running will retire me, I guess.


Lisa Weightman  -  Contributor

Continue Reading