My Place: Barry McMahon

What’s your connection to Keilor?

I’ve lived here for 53 years. I moved into the area because I just loved it.

I first came here while on a fun run that started at St Bernard’s College. I was living in East Keilor at the time, and we did a run out here, and that’s how I came across this beautiful park and this street. It’s lovely and quiet, only for the planes, but they don’t worry you. I’ve always been used to them; they don’t worry me at all.

How frequently do you visit the park?

Three to four times a week. I love everything about it. The only difficult thing is getting across all the time. When we’ve had a lot of rain, you can’t get across the park (from Garden Avenue) because they put a ford in a number of years ago, and when we have a bit of rain you can’t get across it.

Do you think this area has shaped you?

A bit of both I think. I’ve helped try and shape the area. I worked with the Brimbank council up until I was 70; I was with parks and gardens in landscape gardening. I designed and built those two roundabouts in Keilor village. I was with the council for 15 years, all up. I could have kept on working, but I thought it was about time I enjoyed myself.

Have you always lived in the area?

I was born in Buckley Street, Essendon, and went to school at St Monica’s Primary School in Moonee Ponds. I later went to Essendon Tech.

And family?

My wife Val and I have five children. Brendon the youngest is a pilot, he lives in Cairns, married with a couple of children, he’s flying now with Virgin Airlines. He goes in the half Iron Man up there in Cairns. He only has time to train for the half.

Daniel is the oldest one, then Michael, Louise, Marcus and Brendon.

What are some of your proudest sporting moments?

Frankston to Melbourne [marathon] when I was 45. See, I didn’t start running until I was 36-37, because the oldest fellow [Daniel] joined the athletics club at St Bernard’s. I used to just drop him off, then I started running instead of waiting for him. I started running cross-country, and got into the Victorian Athletics Association.

I ran my first marathon when I was 40 in 1978 and then I kept running. And when I turned 45, I ran it in three hours and five minutes, and I kept running it each year. Then I ran it in two hours and 46 minutes, I think that was 1982.

Even when I was 50 I ran it in two hours and 56. Next year I’ll be 80 in April, but I still run 10 and 12 kilometre runs.

Do you have any favourite local haunts?

We would love to get into Horseshoe Bend Farm. Other than that, we like Jan Chong, a Chinese restaurant, it’s in Old Bulla Road. We go there after the run on Thursday nights.

If you have visitors in town, where would you take them to show-off your area?

I would take them to Brimbank Park if I could get across … it’s a beautiful, peaceful place.