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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Khan Marr adds a touch of class to the VAL thanks to Sally Jamieson

Khan Marr adds a touch of class to the VAL thanks to Sally Jamieson

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Marr keeps cool

Star News Group
14th February 2012

Khan Marr, a former member of the Jamaican bobsled team,
is settling into Williamstown and preparing for this Saturday’s
Keilor Gift. 76945_02 Picture: DAMJAN JANEVSKI

KHAN Marr has met some challenges in adapting to the Australian pro running circuit, but it’s nothing compared to the metamorphosis he had to undergo in his home country of Jamaica.

Marr, a sprinter who trained with the famous MVP squad in Jamaica, may have dreamt about running in the summer Olympics, but instead found himself careening down a ice-covered track at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

It’s not something Marr ever expected, nor particularly wanted, to do, but if he never represented the Jamaican bobsled team he would not be living in Williamstown now, about to marry a Williamstown girl.

Marr, who is preparing to compete in the Keilor Gift this Saturday, explained how he came to compete for Jamaica at the Canadian Olympics.

“The manager for the MVP club asked if I was interested in joining the (Jamaican bobsled) team. I’ve never had any experience with bobsledding, so I said to him I said I’m not really sure because I didn’t really know what I was getting into. They came back to me about a month-and-a-half later, and confirmed that they really wanted me to try out for it.”

So Marr organised a Canadian and American Visa and within a month was on the ice.

“It was an experience but I don’t think I want to do it again, because it was really cold,” Marr said.

“On the worst days, especially in Calgary, it was like minus 30C, which I don’t think is something very healthy, especially for someone like me who is from somewhere with a very warm climate.”

While Calgary spelled the end of a short-lived bobsledding career, it was also the setting for the beginning of a very modern romance.

Williamstown’s Sally Jamieson, a professional runner herself, arranged through a friend involved in the Australian bobsledding team to meet the members of the Jamaican team.

Jamieson and Marr “met” via Facebook. They communicated on the social networking site for a year before Jamieson visited Marr in Jamaica in September 2010. She then returned to the Caribbean island in Christmas, and at that point the couple decided to take the relationship further.

Marr and Jamieson now live together at Williamstown, both train under coach Nick Fiedler in Ringwood, both represent Williamstown Athletics Club, and are getting married in April.

Marr, 29, intends to become an Australian citizen, but has accepted that by the time he is naturalised, be will be too old to compete for Australia. It seems sporting prowess is not enough to accelerate the citizenship process.

Instead, Marr is concentrating on Victorian Athletics League (VAL) meets, and some interstate ones, but admitted being bewildered by them at first.

“Sally was telling me about the pro running, and I’m saying: ‘That’s not fair because one guy is starting ahead of the next guy’,” Marr said.

But Marr is getting accustomed to the handicap concept, and was a narrow runner-up in the biggest 70m race on the VAL calendar, at the St Bernard’s Gift, on 5 February off a backmark of 0.75m. The winner ran off 4.25m.

He said he was “in good nick” after years of chronic hamstring injuries in Jamaica, thanks to a modified training program and top-class treatment.

“You always tend to have these niggles, the thing is back home you never used to get the type of treatment I’m getting here,” Marr said.

Marr is looking to compete in the Stawell Gift in early April, which takes place a week before the wedding. The wedding was scheduled to not clash with Stawell, but also to fit in with Jamieson’s teaching schedule, which resulted in the wedding falling on the day of the Australian Athletics Championships in Albert Park.

Fiedler suggested Marr at least run a heat in the morning before exchanging vows, but as fast as he is, he wasn’t willing to risk being late for his own wedding.

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