Victorians chasing national titles
WHO has the fastest half-marathon course in Australia?
The question could be answered on Sunday morning.
A white-hot field will be at the start line for this year’s 21.1km race, which has attracted three of the quickest males and the fastest female from the Gold Coast’s half marathon event in July.
They are gunning for not only the national title, but $25,000 for anyone who can break the Australian record for the fastest male and female half marathon.
Pat Carroll holds the record, 1:01:11, set in Sydney during 1994. Lisa Weightman set the women’s mark in 2010 with 1:09:00 at the Gold Coast.
Two-time Olympian Collis Birmingham returns to the Sunshine Coast after claiming the title in 1:03.15 last year. While he has run a 1:00.56 in Japan during 2013, Birmingham hasn’t been in top form as he juggles training with building industry commitments. It’s fellow Victorian Jack Rayner who is shaping up as the man to beat.
Rayner won at the Gold Coast last month with an effort of 1:03.12. Sixteen seconds behind him at the Gold Coast was William Chebon, and Birmingham finished fourth in 1:04:27.
Chebon has stayed on the Sunshine Coast for the past two weeks after winning the Brisbane Marathon Festival half marathon with a 1:09:35 finish time.
In the women’s event, the favourite is two-time world championship marathon representative Sinead Diver.
She was second at the Gold Coast with a time of 1:09.51. Only two weeks ago the Victorian impressed during a 10km race in Sydney in 32:43.
Others to watch will be Tasmanian Meriem Daoui, as well as the Coast’s own Melanie Panayiotou (see her Q&A on page 7). Entries to all events are still available online, closing tomorrow, August 16 at 5pm. Visit the website www.sunshinecoastmarathon.com.au.
FAVOURITES: Victorian pair Jack Rayner and Sinead Diver are both expected to be among the leaders of the half marathon.