Vic­to­ri­ans chas­ing na­tional ti­tles

Multisport Mecca - - 7 SUNSHINE COAST MARATHON FESTIVAL - Grant Ed­wards Grant.Ed­[email protected]

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.

PHOTO: JEREMY NG

FAVOURITES: Vic­to­rian pair Jack Rayner and Sinead Diver are both ex­pected to be among the lead­ers of the half marathon.

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