Prize missed but title won
DUAL Olympian Collis Birmingham hopes to make another attempt at breaking Pat Carroll’s 23-year-old record after missing the mark at Alexandra Headland on August 20.
The Victorian went into the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon determined to become the fastest Australian on Australian soil and claim a $25,000 prize purse with it. He was two minutes shy, at 1hr03min18sec, in the event, which doubled as the national championships.
“It was tough out there. I never really got into the pace that I needed to,” he said.
“When we turned around and were coming back there was a little bit of wind and it was pretty hard work but I’m happy with the effort.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy so the outlook is maybe I’ll have another crack at it some other time.
“I think it just shows how good the record is.”
He may have missed out on the lucrative reward but he still claimed the national crown and the 32-year-old did manage to break one barrier.
In fact, he crushed the race record, beating Alastair Stevenson’s old mark by almost six minutes in the event’s sixth edition.
He finished almost a minute ahead of Chris Hamer, with Mitchel Brown another 1min21sec back.
“Once the hill was out of the way (within the first 5km) I wanted to open up and try and make up some time,” he said.
“I felt pretty good for most of the way but I just wasn’t on pace and it was a bit too difficult to try and claw it (Carroll’s time) back by the end.”
Birmingham has his sights on running the marathon at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year and is preparing for a qualifying opportunity in Japan in December.
He represented Australia at the Olympics at Beijing in 2008 and at London in 2012, on the track in the 5000m.
He has run quicker than Carroll before, but overseas, clocking 1min056sec in Japan in 2013.
In the women’s event, Linda Spencer admitted she didn’t set out to claim victory in the Australian Half Marathon Championships but she’ll gladly take the title.
The 35-year-old from Mandurah in Western Australia stopped the clock in 1hr15min38sec to finish almost three minutes ahead of Stephanie Auston, with Tennille Ellis another minute back.
The half marathon was just one of several events at the 7 Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Running Festival.
It also included a marathon (42.2km), 10km, 5km and 2km races.
More than 5000 participants converged for the event, which was held in cool conditions.
Alice Latham (1:34:37), Sarah Sherwood (1:47:49) and Helen Greenfield (1:30:44) post the half-marathon.
Dan Sowden and Dan Smith of Ray White take part in Running with the Stars.
Gary Binet (left) and Garry Crick enjoy the inaugural Running with the Stars event.
Winner of the men’s half marathon Collis Birmingham.
Rachelle Mallinder. Brutnell and Sam