Olympic Marathon: 2015 Review

Philip Lord — 2 April 2015

The Marathon is, in effect, a replacement model for the Javelin SP, and Olympic says the Marathon is a van intended for buyers who have already owned a van and want to upgrade into something bigger and better. It might not exactly follow Henry Ford’s, ‘any colour you like so long as it’s black’ philosophy for the Model T, but the Marathon is all about simplicity.

As for the Marathon’s inclusions, there was one in particular that Olympic was keen to have onboard after much customer feedback – a washing machine.


The body is framed with meranti timber, clad in familiar aluminium sheeting – although, in a welcome departure from the usual white, metallic silver has been used instead. The front lower half is protected with padded vinyl and the wheel arches are nicely capped off with plastic mouldings.

An external powerpoint is fitted on the nearside wall but no external TV or audio speaker provision has been made. One external LED light is fitted below the roll-out awning. A locking picnic table is mounted mid-way along the nearside, too.

The large hopper windows allow plenty of light into the van, and have pelmeted curtains and lace screening as well as flyscreens. In the ceiling there is a large opening skylight and plenty of LED downlights.


The 1.85x1.50m island bed has plenty of storage provision, both underneath the bed, which lifts with gas struts to assist, as well as above and to the sides. There are two bedside drawers plus a small flat surface on which to put your glasses and reading matter. There is also a board above the bedhead to store oddments while at camp. Above the bedside drawers are cupboards with hanging space and a mirror affixed to each, and above the bed are three generously-sized lockers. Reading lights are fitted to the sides of the wardrobes.

External storage is in the form of a traditional front boot. The locking boot lid is held up with gas struts and reveals quite a generous amount of storage space. The boot’s internal walls are lined with galvanised sheet steel and it houses the Trail-A-Mate jack, wheelbrace, battery, CTek MXS 15 charger and Motormate battery protection. Also housed in this space is the Brake Safe breakaway controller.


The cafe-style dinette, on the nearside of the van, is roomy for two adults and could sit four at a pinch. There are small cupboards under the table and three large storage lockers above.

Across from the dinette is the kitchen, which has quite a large amount of food preparation space, albeit somewhat compromised. With the cutting board that covers the sink and the fold-up bench section that reveals the cooktop both in place, there is ample room to get food ready to cook. The catch is that you lose most of that space once the cutting board is removed and the cooktop bench section opened.

The Swift cooktop has three gas burners and one electric hotplate, and there’s also a grill and oven below. Adjacent to the bench is a Dometic 184L AES three-way fridge/freezer and sitting above that is the Camec microwave. While having the microwave positioned so high is not ideal (it makes retrieving hot liquids a bit tricky), at least you don’t have to reach over the benchtop to get to it as is the case in some vans. Below the bench is an assortment of storage drawers and cupboards, including a roll-out pantry. Integrated into the side of the kitchen lockers is a JVC KD-R456 CD/WMA/MP3/WAV player with aux input. Above this are the switches for the water pump and water heater.


The bathroom is a reasonable size – it can’t lay claim to being overly generous, but neither is it short on space. It has a stone finish and looks like an upmarket home bathroom, with a sink that has a mixer tap and a large mirror above it. There are two cupboards above the benchtop and also cupboards below. There is also, of course, the 2.2kg washing machine, set in the bench.

The toilet is a Thetford cassette and the separate shower with hinged shower door has an extraction fan mounted in the ceiling. A small screened window is located on the offside of the van, allowing in plenty of natural light and ventilation.


This is a luxury van from a long-standing Australian manufacturer, with a focus on simplicity in the layout. And being available in only one body size and one layout option might just make the decision-making process a little bit easier.

The Marathon is a fully-stocked van and provides a lot of equipment at a reasonable price. While it is, in many respects, a traditional van, it has mostly well-chosen colours, which give it a contemporary feel.


I liked...

  • Large storage under bed
  • Large shower recess
  • Good kitchen bench provision

I would have liked...

  • Better wiring placement underneath
  • More cohesive décor

The full test appears in Caravan World #537 May 2015.


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Jack Murphy