The Marathon Man of Noosa

Surf boat rowing

By Ron Lane

It was while living in Tasmania in the year 1992, that Stephen Paul Porter, had his first ever introduction into the world of marathon running. He did this by taking part in the Tin Miners Marathon, held at a place called Zeehan. Run over the official distance of 42km.

Steve had this to say of the event, “On looking back, ” he said with a laugh, “I must admit that I was not properly prepared, I struggled(for almost six hours) but I finished.’’

Now at the age of 47, this Noosa resident can proudly look back over the years and boast a grand total of 17 racing marathons and a similar number of social (orienteering and adventure) marathons with friends and add to this, a total of five Pomona King of the Mountain runs. “I have also run lots of half marathons, but it is the full marathon that provides the major challenge: the challenge where you are prepared to suffer the mental aspects and get to stage where you almost enjoy the suffering. It is in itself an incredible sense of achievement.”

Steve was born in Melbourne but at the age of one was taken by his family to live in Burnie: he was educated at the Cooee Primary School and the Burnie State High on the North West Coast.

“I left high school half way through year 11: I was not a great student—just could not get interested– so I entered trade school and followed in my fathers footsteps by becoming a sparkie. On the weekends, I was a nipper in the Burnie Surf Life Saving club. After obtaining my bronze I commenced patrols and started rowing in surf boat competition, under/21division.It was in 1992 that I got my first look at Noosa when I visited with mum and dad for a holiday and immediately liked the place.”

After returning to Tasmania, he competed in his first marathon and the following year, took part in his first half marathon (21.1kl.) Then, after completing his apprenticeship he returned to Noosa for a year (94/95) during which he worked as a sparkie, join the Noosa surf club and continued doing patrols and rowing surf boats.

Following this, he took time off to visit the USA where he spent eighteen months working in the snow states. “On returning to Tassie I was sick of the cold weather, so along with my good mate Mickey Dennis, I returned to Noosa, got a job, re-joined the surf club and under sweep Alby Maxwell, I continued to row surf boats with our crews, representing at the state and national titles. After the nationals i continued my running and rowing; and later we got a new sweep(Alby had returned to NSW)and coach named Robbie Meyer. He also knew quite a bit about running so he started to help by coaching me with my technique and programs; and this was a great help. I ran my first full marathon in Queensland, on the Gold Coast in 2004 and finished in a time of 4 plus hours.’’

This marathon gave Steve a big confidence boost. “From the numerous marathon that I ran, my best times were averaged at 3hr 15 min: sadly, I never achieved my main goal which was to break the 3-hr time. I came to realise that I carried to much weight (84kg) and running at that, would not get me under the 3. I realised that I was not built for speed, so I stopped watching the clock enjoyed my runs, an occasional beer and a good plate of food.” Also, at this time he found that he was really enjoying the half marathon; however, it was definitely the full marathon that would always provide the major challenge, both mentally and physically.

With his love of the challenge, another such event the George Bass Marathon Surf Boat Race(for surf clubs) caught his attention. Starting at Batemans Bay and finishing at Eden NSW, a distance of 190 kl, this 7day event was to Steve a different challenge, something new. This he wanted and in late January 2017, was part of the first ever Noosa crew to cross the finish line. “It was a great achievement for both our club and our crews, something we will never forget,”

Away from the world of sport, Steve works in the field of building and electrical engineering: a profession which has on occasion, seen him visiting China. At present, he is employed as a project manager working on major extensions to the Sunshine Coast Stadium: a project which Steve believes, will be of major benefit to the future of our sporting communities.

In the year 2004, apart from the big improvement in his time for the marathon, his major success was meeting a new club mate,(while on a ski training trip into A Bay) a beautiful young lady named Petra; for it was this lady who was to become his wife and the mother of his gorgeous daughter Jessica. “That was definitely my most successful training session ever,” said the very happy and proud Steve Porter; the marathon man of Noosa.

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