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Retired runner pulls on sneakers for another marathon milestone


Jessica Nelson
27 June 2018

After a 10-year marathon hiatus, football coach Joel Organ has proven he’s still in the game, claiming a bronze medal in the Noosa marathon last month ahead of the Gold Coast Marathon.

As a coach at Australia’s only Liverpool International Academy, based at Southern Cross University, Joel will join #TeamSCU for the half marathon event on July 1.

The 43-year-old Southern Cross nursing graduate, who was born in the football-mad town of Reading in the UK, said training for the Noosa marathon had been part of his grand plan to attempt a half marathon in under 80 minutes, inspiring his football team and work colleagues to achieve their aspirational goals in the process.

“I started running in my 20s and really took off in my 30s, but was forced to take a break due to injury. These past 12 months have seen my fitness and injury issues resolve and I’ve made a serious go of it,” he said.

Joel ran a personal best of 2.58 in the Sydney marathon back in 2008, and last month on the Sunshine Coast he came in just one minute later at 2.59, proving his new training plan had paid off.

“Instead of running full pace every time I train I have been using an 80 – 20 rule, with 80 per cent low intensity runs and 20 per cent very high intensity, alongside other runners who spur me on.”

After working as a nursing home assistant from age 16, alongside his football training, Joel decided to follow his passion for health by studying nursing at Southern Cross University in the 1990s. While completing his degree, he also represented the University in football at two National University Games tournaments and coached both the women's National University Games and local teams.

Now, as assistant to the director of nursing at Lismore Base Hospital, Joel is passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and giving back to the community. Getting back into marathon running is part of that.

“I am really proud of the community I am part of and giving back to them, not only as a nurse leader but also through coaching the girls’ Liverpool Football Academy team, through running and being collaborative. I’ve always tried to uphold being a role model both in the workplace and outside of it,” he said.

“It has been an honour to assist these girls train for football at the highest level and go on to success, while also keeping fit and pursuing my own marathon goals.”