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Showdown of a different kind at the Adelaide Marathon Festival

Original story published by Reece Homfray

They played in plenty of Showdowns together but next month is one of a different kind when Kane Cornes and Michael Wilson go head-to-head over 42.2km.

The 2004 Port Adelaide premiership teammates are in training for the Adelaide Marathon Festival on August 14, which they are also running for a good cause – helping to raise money for charities including the Little Heroes Foundation.

Cornes has been training for about a year in preparation for his first marathon but says he’s stepped it up in the past three months, which means running six days a week and covering 80-100km.

The 33-year-old is aiming to go under three hours but is using the marathon as preparation for a bigger challenge in November when he runs the New York Marathon with the Little Heroes Foundation.

“Eddy (his son) was born with a heart condition and we’ve had a long association with Little Heroes, and we know Bone (Chris McDermott) very well,” said Cornes, who is an Adelaide Marathon ambassador.

“The New York Marathon has been a bucket list thing for me so I thought it would be good to get one marathon done before then.”

Wilson the last man to beat Cornes in a 3km time trial at Port Adelaide and in retirement has turned to triathlon, including racing the Hawaii Ironman last year.

“He (Wilson) is the most mentally tough athlete I’ve ever come across and has always been someone I’ve looked up to,” Cornes said.

“It will be great to line up with him but I think he’s got me covered.”

Having played through serious injuries in his footy career, Wilson is no stranger to breaking the pain barrier but says his fifth Adelaide Marathon may also be his last as his ailing knee further deteriorates.

“The knee is not taking any long distance stuff, it just blows up,” Wilson, 39, said.

“I got to the point not long ago when I couldn’t walk up the stairs so common sense has got to prevail at some stage.

“Kane is a better runner than me but the only thing is he hasn’t done one (a marathon) before – you’re always better after doing one or two so he’ll be right up the front of the New York Marathon too knowing him.”

Wilson has still been able to run 40-50km a week in a bid to finally win the Adelaide Marathon after finishing second, third and fourth in the past.

Last year he finished runner-up by five seconds in the scorching time of 2hrs 40mins.

His family has also been involved with the Little Heroes Foundation with son Tom recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumour last year.

“They’ve (Little Heroes) been fantastic, organising barbecues for families and flights over Victor Harbor for the kids, so anything we can do to raise awareness and funds we do,” Wilson said.