Half way to stardom on Gold Coast, July 3
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will take on even greater status this year with the race’s half marathon being bestowed with national title status.
While the full distance marathon will again be a prestigious IAAF Gold Label event and as such can be expected to have a strong international field, there is every chance this year’s Asics half marathon could be the best ever in Australia.
With the Olympics slated for Rio de Janeiro between August 5-21, the Gold Coast half and 10km events on July 2-3 will likely serve as a final hitout for our Olympians.
As a result there is every chance that local star Michael Shelley and female marathon stars Jess Trengove and Lisa Weightman will choose to race the Gold Coast half along with several other Olympic distance runners.
Glasgow Commonwealth champion Michael Shelley has not lined up in the Gold Coast half since 2009 when he clocked a then PB of 62min7sec.
Weightman, who won last year’s national half title in Melbourne, ran an amazing PB to finish in 69 minutes exactly on the Gold Coast back in 2010 which still stands as a race record. The men’s race record dates back to 1992 when Kenyan world champion Benson Masya clocked 61.16.
“We have consistently enticed strong elite fields to race the ASICS Half Marathon including Olympians, Commonwealth Games and World Championship representatives such as Jessica Trengove, Eloise Wellings and Liam Adams last year,” events management Queensland chairman Kerry Watson said.
“We’re confident that a number of distance athletes heading to the 2016 Rio Olympics will use our event as a final competitive warm-up, prompting a fast race threatening our race records.”
The 6am race start in darkness for the half should again assist fast times with temperatures usually in under 15C for the race.
“Combine these conditions with a flat and fast course, which runs alongside the Gold Coast’s famous surf beaches and beautiful broadwater, and you have an ideal course for a personal best time," Watson said.
Athletics Australia also last month announced which other races will host other road titles this year.
The Medibank Melbourne Marathon on October 16, which traditionally concludes the road race season, will again be the national marathon title.
The event, which finishes inside the MCG, has grown in status in recent years with Weightman (2013), Nikki Chapple (2014) and Jess Trengove (2015) all impressive winners.
The national road title moves to Adelaide and will be part of the Sunday Mail City-Bay Fun Run, a 12km race from the city down to Glenelg on September 18.
Eloise Wellings and Liam Adams won the event in 2015 and the race has had a string of stars contest it over the years along with upwards of 30,000 fun runners.
Canberra will again host the Australian 50k road title (April 10) and the mountain running championships (May 15), while the Gold Coast 100 on July 12 will again be the national 100km title.
Australian Half Marathon Championships
Event: Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Date: Sunday 3 July 2016
Australian Road Running Championships
Event: Sunday Mail City-Bay Fun Run
Date: Sunday 18 September 2016
Australian Marathon Championships
Event: Medibank Melbourne Marathon
Date: Sunday 16 October 2016
Australian 50km Road Championships
Event: Canberra Running Festival
Date: Sunday 10 April 2016
Australian Mountain Running Championships
Event: Mt Tennent, Canberra
Date: Sunday 15 May 2016
Australian 100km Road Championships
Event: Gold Coast 100
Date: Sunday 12 June 2016