Benalla’s Chrissy Purcell set to take on New York Marathon

By Meg Saultry

In what is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Chrissy Purcell, the Benalla local is set to take on the world’s biggest marathon next month, when she runs the New York Marathon.

And it will be all for charity, with Purcell’s 42km run honouring her grandmother Elsie Purcell, who passed away with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do, to tick it off the bucket list,” Chrissy said.

“I’m nervous but know I can do it.”

The opportunity to run in the event, which is notoriously hard to enter, came about though a bittersweet invitation.

“I’ve always wanted to go to New York and do it,” Chrissy said.

“I’ve got friends who do it, and one friend, who runs regularly for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), his dad passed away last week.

“He approached me, and said he couldn't run this year and did I want his ticket?

“We had to ask the charity, but they said ‘yep, Chrissy can run’.”

Chrissy Purcell is set to take on the New York Marathon for charity, following previous runs in the Melbourne Marathon. Photo supplied by Melbourne Marathon Festival.

Chrissy is aiming to raise $3000 for the foundation, with 100 per cent of the money raised going straight into research.

Chrissy said it was a privilege to be able to run for a cause close to her heart.

“It’s always something I’d wanted to get into, it’s affected our family,” Chrissy said.

“It’s a common disease but a hidden disease.

“No-one really talks about it, it’s silent.”

After transitioning to running after a long stint as a hockey player with Country Victoria, Chrissy has completed close to half a dozen half-marathons, as well as a full marathon in Melbourne last year.

And she's been taking her training for her upcoming race relatively seriously as she looks to beat her personal best time of four hours and 20 minutes in New York.

“I've got some friends who are professional runners,” Chrissy said.

“I've been going in for coaching and doing a training program.

“Sprinting is different to long distance, so I’ve been learning some tricks about foot placement, and what's sustainable and what's not, just picking their brains.”

Last weekend Chrissy had her final tune up ahead of the US race, taking on the half-marathon at the Melbourne Marathon Festival.

Despite planning to take it easy as not to flair an injury, Chrissy ran the 21km race in one hour and 55 minutes, putting her in good stead to hit her goal of four hours in New York.

Flying to the Big Apple at the end of the month, Purcell will join more than 52 000 runners taking on the marathon, which starts on Staten Island, covers the five burroughs and finishes at the iconic Central Park.

She will be supported through the race by her niece Marley Kisf, before the pair enjoy a brief holiday to some iconic locations across the United States, including the Grand Canyon.

● To support Chrissy's fundraising efforts head to:

The fundraiser closes on Friday, October 25. All donations to the ADDF are 100 per cent tax deductible.