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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Donna MacFarlane

Born: 18 June 1977

Donna MacFarlane is an Olympian and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist who is proof that it’s possible to make a comeback.

Donna was an Australian middle distance and steeplechase runner who set an Australian record of 9:18:35 in the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase at the 2008 IAAF Golden League Meeting in Oslo, Norway. The record stood for eight years.

Earlier in her career, competing as Donna Tyberek, she won the Australian Under 20 titles over 800 metres, 1,500 metres and cross country. In 2000, she won the senior bronze medal in the 3,000 metres steeplechase at the Australian Athletics Championships in the event’s inaugural year for women.

Although Donna retired from athletics in her early twenties to focus on her family and career, five years later the mother of two resumed running, intending to get fit and enter a fun run in Hobart.

Under new coach, Max Cherry, and with the help of a group of teenage training partners, Donna improved her best times over every distance from 400 metres to 10 kilometres.

One year after returning to running, Donna was selected for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where she won a bronze medal in the 3,000 metres steeplechase.

Immediately following the Commonwealth Games, Donna helped Australia to a team bronze medal in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

After a very successful international racing schedule, tragedy struck at the 2007 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, when the Chinese competitor accidentally caused Donna's shoe to come off, which ultimately caused her to withdraw from the race due to injury.

Donna ended her international athletics competition with the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Photo courtesy The Examiner