An event record 23,398 entrants enjoy glorious running conditions Down Under
SOUTHPORT, Australia - (July 5, 2009) - A Kenyan marathon debutant and the closest finish in the event's history highlighted the 31st Gold Coast Airport Marathon held on Sunday, July 5 with an event record 23,398 entrants under beautiful Queensland conditions.
Kenya's William Chebon Chebor won the $7900 victory prize money in the men's marathon with a barnstorming surge mid-race to cross the line in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 58 seconds, the sixth fastest time in race history.
Chebor scored a 4 minute 48 second victory over Victorian Shane Nankervis (2:16:46) and New Zealand's Matt Smith (2:16:51).
"Halfway I lost the other William [Rotich] and started to run very hard," said Chebor. "I realized halfway that breaking the record wasn't possible, but second [Nankervis] was so far away that I wasn't worried about not winning."
In the women's race, less than a second separated first and second with Western Australia's Lauren Shelley outsprinting Queensland rising marathon star Roxie Schmidt over the final 100 meters to win in 2:42:22.
Shelley's last-stride win improved on two previous runner-up finishes in this event in 2005 and 2007 and gave her the Oceania Marathon Championship title, while Schmidt finished one place higher than last year with her second placing and the honor of being Queensland Marathon champion.
"I saw Roxie at the 35K turn and I was slowing and I hoped I had it in me to keep ahead of her," said Shelley. "In the last 100 meters, it's funny how you always manage to find that something extra and when Roxie got in front I really needed to dig in."
Schmidt improved on her personal best marathon time set when she won the Gold Coast's sister marathon in Senshu, Japan in February by over five minutes (2:42:22). Japan's Mai Tagami was third in a time of 2:47:26.
The full 42.2K Gold Coast Airport Marathon drew a record field of 4,106 runners, the third largest field in Australian marathon history.
Earlier in the morning, Tanzanian Dickson Marwa (1:02:09) took out the ASICS Half Marathon in another thrilling race that saw only seconds separating the first three finishers.
In a blanket finish, defending champion Michael Shelley of the Gold Coast was second despite setting a personal best time of 1:02:10, while 2006 race winner Martin Dent of the ACT finished third, also in a personal best of 1:02:16.
Maintaining the trend of personal bests, Victoria's Lisa-Jane Weightman smashed her personal best by well over a minute in winning the women's half-marathon in 1:10:42.
Weightman won this race back in 2007 before setting a 2:32:22 time in her marathon debut last year in London and achieving a credible 33rd place finish in the Beijing Olympic Marathon.
Brisbane's Cassie Fien was second (1:12:24), while 2008 Gold Coast Airport Marathon champion Shireen Crumpton of New Zealand was third (1:14:05) over the shorter distance.
Three-time Olympian Lee Troop took out the Southern Cross University 10K Run in 29:28 before immediately heading back to the start line to take up his duty as a 2:24 pace runner in the full marathon which started 15 minutes after his 10K finish.
Sydney's Harry Summers was second (30:00) and Mitch Kealey from Brisbane was third (30:18).
Rising Queensland runner Clare Geraghty won the women's 10K in an impressive time of 34:25 after taking a year off with injuries that included three back and two foot fractures. Japan's Kiyomi Niwata (35:05) was second with Victoria's Susan Michelsson third (35:24).
This year's Corporate Teams Challenge proved a major success with 42 teams eligible for the prizes provided by sponsor MyFun.com.au. The prize for the Largest Team was awarded to Team Health with 628 participants, and they also won the award for Most Kilometers Traveled with a total of 8,535K on the day. In the Fitness Teams Challenge, the Largest Team went to Curves Gold Coast with 150 participants while the Most Kilometers Traveled was 1168.24K by the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre.
There were 11 more people inducted into the 20 Year Club this year, taking the total membership to 43. This honor goes to people who have completed 20 of the same event in Gold Coast Airport Marathon history.
John Wishart from Peregian Beach also became the first person in Gold Coast Airport Marathon history to have completed 30 Gold Coast Marathons. Wishart finished the 42.2K journey in 4:29:46 to have recorded a total of 1,265K run at the event over the 30 years.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was happy with her performance finishing the ASICS Half Marathon in 2:12:16, while the winner of Tourism Queensland's 'Best Job in the World' Ben Southall from the UK crossed the line in 1:42:56.
In more great news, more than $80,000 was raised for charity through the Everyday Hero website including official charities Cancer Council Queensland and Transplant Australia. Marathon entrant James Hines from Melbourne was the leading fundraiser totaling over $8000 and he finished in a time of 3:39:06.
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is organized by Queensland Events Gold Coast which is a major event management company wholly owned by the Queensland Government through Queensland Events Corporation.
Queensland Events Gold Coast General Manager Cameron Hart praised his team including the 800-plus volunteers, 23,398 participants, thousands of crowd supporters and all the event sponsors for contributing to the best Gold Coast Airport Marathon yet.
The 2010 Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Sunday, July 4, and will be staged once again from the Southport Broadwater Parklands.
31st Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Southport, Australia, Sunday, July 5, 2009
1) William Chebon Chebor (KEN), 2:11:58 $7900
2) Shane Nankervis (AUS), 2:16:46, $6300
3) Matt Smith (AUS), 2:16:51, $3200
1) Lauren Shelley (AUS), 2:42:22, $7900
2) Roxie Schmidt (AUS), 2:42:22, $6300
3) Mai Tagami (JPN), 2:47:26, $3200
ASICS Half Marathon
1) Dickson Marwa (TAN), 1:02:09, $3200
2) Michael Shelley (AUS), 1:02:10, $1900
3) Martin Dent (AUS), 1:02:16, $800
1) Lisa-Jane Weightman (AUS), 1:10:42, $3200
2) Cassie Fien (AUS), 1:12:24, $1900
3) Shireen Crumpton (AUS), 1:14:05, $800
Southern Cross University 10K
1) Lee Troop (AUS), 29:28, $800
2) Harry Summers (AUS), 30:00, $500
3) Mitch Kealey (AUS), 30:18, $300
1) Clare Geraghty (AUS), 34:25, $800
2) Kiyomi Niwata (JPN), 35:05, $500
3) Susan Michelsson (AUS), 35:24, $300
Complete results and more at: www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au.