Turns ousted for fast course
RACE director Jason Crowther said this year’s 7 Sunshine Coast Marathon course would be fast. He and the committee have not disappointed.
Only revealed and rubber stamped this week, the new route means less slowing and includes more Maroochy River views as runners travel further along Bradman Avenue.
There is no doubting the competition will be intense. Organisers want the event to become renown as the nation’s fastest half marathon, and have put $25,000 up for grabs to any Aussie who can break the Australian record.
Two-time Olympian Collis Birmingham is shaping as the man who can beat the men's record of 1hr01min11sec set by Pat Carroll in Sydney 23 years ago, while Cassie Fien has signalled her intention to crack the women's mark of 1hr09min established by Lisa Weightman on the Gold Coast in 2010.
“The course changes have taken out four u-turns. The pros reckon a u-turns costs them eight to 10 seconds and it would be much more for an amateur runner,” Jason said.
“That will mean significant improvement from someone going for an Australian record and for the general runners that are going to run some fast half marathon times.
“We’ve taken out the small loop at McDonald’s Mooloolaba, the loop at Cotton Tree at Fifth Ave and Picnic Point.”
Three days were spent having the course certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), which means the Sunshine Coast can be used as a qualifier for popular events such as Boston and New York.
“Runners know they are running a legitimate course,” Jason said. “On their Garmin it will say its longer for sure because AIMS measure the shortest possible route.
“This year we had to cap the half marathon at 2000, we are close to 80%. Usually six weeks out we double in numbers. The half will sell out this year.
“We have capped the marathon at 700, that will get close to capacity, which is more than we had last year.”
This year’s event will attract record numbers from outside of Queensland.
There are more than 250 interstate runners – mostly from NSW, VIC, SA and Tasmania – and more than 100 visitors from overseas including 70-plus New Zealanders. About 15 runners from the United States and Canada are expected.
Another new innovation this year is Run with the Local Stars. Using a fast and furious 4 x 500m course, six teams will compete for bragging rights in front of a raucous crowd.
Teams include will include Super Netball champions, the Sunshine Coast Lightning, featuring Diamonds mid-courter Laura Scherian, Stephanie Wood and Cara Koenen.
Crick’s Auto Group will also be in action, with Garry Crick, John Eastham, James Welch and Dean Stuart. The stars from Ray White will also be in action, including Dan Sowden, Dan Smith, Brent Higgins and James Goldsworthy.