A marathon was always on "the back-burner" for Matt Johnsen - until this year.
In a field of 7029, the Broulee athlete placed 9th at the Melbourne Marathon.
He conquered the 42km race in 2:23.06 on Sunday, October 13.
"It was my first marathon, and something that has been on my bucketlist," he said.
Johnsen was a keen runner during his teenage years at Moruya High School.
In 2010, he received an athletics scholarship to study and train at Texas, USA - where "things turned up a gear".
"The biggest learning points I gained over there was professionalism in training, and reaching goals - knowing what it takes," Johnsen said.
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When returning to Australia, Johnsen hit a lull. He said back and glute injuries were a setback, plus two knee operations put a damper on his motivation.
"It wasn't until the start of this year that I felt motivated to do something," he said.
Now aged 31, his focus is on being consistent with training, under the guidance of Canberra marathoner Brad Croker.
"Brad got me motivated and set a plan to build up the kilometres, week by week," Johnsen said.
Running each day, Johnsen would total 120-130kms a week.
His training paid off, with a result at the Melbourne Marathon Festival he wasn't expecting.
His family and friends were there in support, which "lessened the crazy nerves".
"I had a lot of emotion running through, I was just hoping to stick to the race plan," Johnsen said.
"To be conservative and try to run tough in the second half - that's when your legs start to feel heavier and you mentally have to battle through."
Johnsen's race almost went to plan ...
"I had an unfortunate toilet stop half way," he laughed.
As he ran through the streets of Melbourne, Johnsen got a kick out of people cheering his name, written on his bib.
"It wasn't until the latter part of the race I started picking up a few runners," he said.
"There was a sea of people, it was so much fun.
"I really enjoyed it, I think Brad and I will figure out what the year ahead looks like."
Johnsen thanked his coach Brad Croker, his friends, family and the Eurobodalla running community for their support.
He has recently taken up a coaching role at Eurocoast Athletics and encourages endeavoring athletes to get in touch.