Mal, an older man running with sunglasses, in the lead in the Host City Marathon

Mal's Motivations

My name is Mal Wilson, I have a story like everyone else, but my story continues and hopefully will motivate, and maybe save a few lives.

In the early 90s, my lifestyle was one that was heading down the path of destruction. At forty-two years of age, I was a person that smoked, drank, and was overweight, stressed and never believed in exercise. Then early one Thursday morning in November 1993 it all came to a sudden end in the way of a heart attack. This was to be followed up six months later with a quadruple bypass. In the six months leading up to my operation, my life was in the hands of God.

After my operation, scarred and sore, I was about to take up the biggest change of my life. One afternoon, standing in a gym in the city I watched a man workout on a running machine. All of a sudden I realised that the man was my heart surgeon. After a chat, he asked me to have a run on the treadmill. So with great trepidation, I decided to give it a go. I had been doing a lot of walking as exercise after my heart attack and this was a further stepping stone. After twenty minutes of running and hardly any puffing, I knew that this was to be the start of two friendships - one with my surgeon Mark O'Brien, and one with the road.

Mal running in a marathon. He has the code M289 attached to his shorts.

Mark then introduced me to the Queensland Marathon and Road Running Club. So with no more than a shuffle that I had been doing for a couple of months and for no longer distance than one kilometre, I decided to enter a five-kilometre race. This took me beyond anything physical I had done in my whole life and all the time not knowing if my heart was going to overcharge. Well, it didn't, and I finished in twenty-five minutes (not ready for the Olympics yet!). Ten years down the track with the right diet, lots of training and lots of love and support from my wife and two sons, I am now a marathon runner.

Along the way, I met someone who was to have an impact on my life once again. This was Robert de Castella. I asked Deek if he ever was in Brisbane could he find the time to run with me. A few months later I found myself doing a ten-kilometre run with the legend, and to this day our friendship has continued. I look forward to seeing Deek at the marathons as much as I like to run them. My surgeon also competes in just about every marathon I run, and I am so proud to show him just what he has done for me.

I am a volunteer with the heart support group at Prince Charles Hospital and spend a lot of spare time at the hospital talking with heart patients. I like to give back to the hospital and staff as much as I can for it's these people who are the unsung heroes.

Before my heart attack, I was ninety-six kilograms. I am now seventy-one kilograms and have a resting heart rate of forty-one. Before my heart attack, it was up in the eighties.

I train a minimum of six kilometres and a maximum of thirty kilometres a day, and my best times in running are:

  • Marathon: three hours, fourteen minutes (Gold Coast)
  • Half-marathon: one hour, twenty-seven minutes (Noosa)
  • Ten kilometres: thirty-eight minutes (QMRRC)
  • Five kilometres: seventeen minutes (QMRRC).

I have won ten gold championship medals, three silver championship medals and three bronze championship medals at my running club.

  • Third and second in two separate Australia Day runs at Redland Bay, 10 km
  • Second, in an open event, ten kilometres run for 'breast cancer' in the City, 10 km
  • Second outright in a 12-kilometre Glasshouse Mountain race
  • Second outright in a Bribie Island 30 kilometre beach run
  • Second two years in a row, for age, at Sandgate in a 10-kilometre road race
  • Third, in an open event at Mt Mee - Mt Mee is rated as one of the hardest in the country, 10 km
  • Second one year third the next in age from Samford to Dayrbo, 23 km

I fulfilled one of my dreams by running to the top of Mt Kosciusko and back just two days after the Canberra Marathon and all these runs I must say are done without a stop.

I have run the one hundred-kilometre running leg of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Triathlon in Canberra in eleven hours. The Sydney Olympic Course Marathon in three hours sixteen minutes and the Gold Coast Marathon in three hours fourteen minutes, all in the space of seven months.

My last run was the Gold Coast Marathon in a time of three hours, twenty-three minutes. In a field of 1,900 runners, I came 312 overall and 23rd in my age group.

This past year I have won gold medals in every one of my club championships for age, to become Club Champion for the last two years in a row in my age group.

I now belong to a gymnasium where the staff are building my body up and putting me through exercises that my body has never known. I work my heart rate between 140 and 150 for an hour and then muscle building for another hour and my fitness level is the highest it has ever been and still, my resting heart rate is 40 a minute.

I recently had an angiogram just to satisfy myself that my arteries were not blocking up again. My cardiologist said that the way I'm going with diet and exercise that I won't need another until I am well into my eighties. My grafts were as clear as the day they put them in.

I have just come off a six-month break from competitive racing and entered an 8 km race in which I ran in 32 minutes and came first in my age group. So the six-month weight building and cardio workout in the gym has enabled me to keep up my good times and added a lot more strength to my running.

I am now back into competitive running with one of the hardest 25 km mountain races in the country in four weeks time, and then trying to beat my personal best which is one hour twenty-seven minutes, in the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July.

Since Christmas, I have lost three mates at the age of 51, 61 and 25 respectively. All have died of self-induced heart attacks.

I run for two reasons, firstly so that I may lead a long and healthy life and secondly in the hope that I may encourage someone else to do the same thing and save a life.

This story can be told to all ages because it affects all ages and heart disease is one of the biggest killers in Australia today. There is too much emphasis put on all these fancy diets today when all that is needed is a low-fat diet and regular exercise and for parents to guide their children from a young age on the habits of a healthy lifestyle.

Mal and a young boy in a golf cart.


Motivational speaking

I am a motivational speaker. It is from the heart and with great passion that I speak, to motivate people from all walks of life. I talk about diet, exercise and a healthy heart. I encourage self-worth and self-esteem and make people realize that everyone has the potential to become anything that they want to be.

The Brisbane City Council has engaged my services to deliver motivational talks to the staff. The aim of my talks with the Council is to reduce sick days within the workplace. My seminars encourage a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. When people are enjoying a lifestyle change they feel better within themselves, and it makes them feel enthusiastic about their job, which in turn reduces sick days.

I am also engaged by the Salvation Army. My motivational talks with the Salvation Army are directed to the unemployed youth of our community. This seminar is aimed at self-worth and self-esteem. Making people realize that they have the potential to become anything that they want to be. This makes them feel better about themselves and gives them the enthusiasm to look for work and become part of the workforce.

I also deliver seminars at a leading Brisbane gymnasium on diet, exercise and heart awareness. Members of the gym are then encouraged to get serious about their fitness regime and look at just how healthy their eating patterns are. They are keen to join my running program and see what hard training goes into running.

My seminars have helped numerous people get back into enjoying life. People now realize that life only comes around once, so they must take care of themselves, both mentally and physically. With the right attitude towards individual goals, and the right diet and exercise we can all enjoy healthy lifestyles.

My seminars are interesting, informative, fun, and most importantly motivational. My talk hits every individual personally, and in a profound way that makes them want to do something about their lifestyle. I talk from experience and from the heart and I am passionate about reaching out to make a change to each and every person.


Mal had his heart operation at 42 and is turning 70 this year. He is still dear friends with his heart surgeon who is turning 90 this year, and is still on the Mediterranean diet and exercising at a high level, but with bike riding instead of running.

At the end of Mal's running days, his best results were:

  • 5 km: 16 minutes
  • 10 km: 36 minutes
  • Half marathon 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Full marathon: 3 hours 12 minutes
  • 100 km: 11.5 hours

Resting heart rate 37 beats per minute down from 86 beats per minute before the heart attack.

For more information contact Mal by phone or email via the details provided below.


Mobile: 0417 787 748
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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