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Wellings and Lefroy victorious in Southern Cross University 10km Run

Eloise Wellings wins the 2017 Southern Cross University 10km Run in the second fastest time in event history (32:55)


NSW distance running star Eloise Wellings and ACT’s Timothy Lefroy started the 39th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon race weekend in style with victories in the Southern Cross University 10km Run races this morning.

More than 5,000 runners lined up in the Southern Cross University 10km Run as part of close to 27,000 participants taking part across all races over the weekend.

In crisp and cloudless Queensland winter running conditions, Wellings clocked the second fastest ever women’s time (32:55) over the Gold Coast 10km, behind Lisa-Jane Weightman’s 2012 record of 32:17.

Dual Olympian Wellings started as one of the event’s hottest favourites and proved too strong winning from Victoria’s Alexandra Paterson (33:09) and New Zealander Laura Nagel (34:25) making up the podium.

Wellings, who claimed the women’s ASICS Half Marathon title two years ago in the fifth fastest time ever, is back on the racing circuit after a stellar 2016 which included top-10 finishes in the 10,000m and 5,000m events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“I am really happy with that race,” she said.

“It is only my second race in seven months because I’ve been battling injury, but in the last month or two I’ve started to come good again, which is a really positive sign going into the [London IAAF] world championships.

“I have great memories of being up here with my family and they put on such a great event here, which attracts so many of my amazing friends and training partners.”

Victoria’s Alexandra Paterson crossed the Southern Cross University 10km Run in second place 


The 34-year-old said she feels like she is getting fitter and stronger and is looking forward to the challenges of the coming year and well beyond.

“The [Gold Coast] Commonwealth Games are definitely something I am looking forward to,” she said.

“I am hoping to run professionally for as long as I can and it isn’t unheard of for female distance runners to run [into] their 40s.

“I hope to run for a while yet because come the Commonwealth Games next year I will only be 35, it will be my fourth one and I haven’t finished on the podium yet. So come 2018, that is what I’m aiming for.”

Paterson was happy for Wellings to call the shots.

“I knew Eloise was running and I thought it would be a great opportunity to race alongside her because you don’t have the chance very often, so I just tried to stick with her,” Paterson said.

“I felt really strong, but Eloise powered through. I managed to beat my personal best by 20 seconds, so I am really happy with my result today,” she said.

Nagel said her race was much better than she expected.

“My plan was to take the race as a tempo run, see how I felt and find a comfortable rhythm. I never really thought I could win,” she said.

“I was expecting to hit a wall, but I didn’t. I saw the sunshine and I was OK.

“Going forward I’m looking to get some consistent training and then it’s the New Zealand cross-country nationals. I’m looking to finding some other races in Australia as well.

“The overall goal is to qualify for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. That is a long way away, but today was a good sign,” she said.

New Zealand’s Laura Nagel claimed third place in the 2017 Southern Cross University 10km Run


The third head-to-head battle this year between Lefroy from the Australian Capital Territory and New South Welshman Matthew Hudson headlined today’s men’s Southern Cross University 10km Run, with Lefroy making it a hard-fought hat trick after a frenetic three-way sprint to the finish with eventual third placegetter Queenslander Louis McAfee.

Lefroy (29:48) took the lead for the first time in the race 250m from the finish to record a one second win over Hudson (29:49), with McAfee a further second behind (29:50).

Today’s race was a farewell victory for Lefroy.

“I’m moving over to the UK, so I really wanted to finish on a good note,” Lefroy said.

“I ran a PB [personal best] about two weeks ago so I wasn’t so fast with the time. I just knew I was going to be in the hunt for a spot on the podium.

“Anywhere on the podium I would have been happy, so I was lucky to come away with the win I think,” he said.

Lefroy racked up a massive negative split, running the first 5km in 15:08 and the last in 14:39.

Tim Lefroy from the Australian Capital Territory wins the 2017 Southern Cross University 10km Run in 29:48


Hudson agreed the first half of the race wasn’t necessarily about fast times.

“We went out quite conservatively. I think [Ed] Goddard [who led a pack of nine by nine seconds at the halfway mark] was out in front pushing the pace a bit,” he said.

“[When Lefroy went I tried] to bridge the gap at five kilometres, so put a bit of a surge in to catch him. I got him at about seven kilometres and then just couldn’t hold on in the end.

“I’ve raced him in the last three races and every single race we’ve finished within one second of each other. We’re sort of at that same level, but he’s just got a slightly better kick than me,” he said.

After a long season on the track and road, Hudson is looking forward to a completely different challenge.

“I’m planning to walk Kokoda with my Dad in about four weeks, so I’ll be training for that and then come back and race a few big events on the track at the end of the year.”

New South Welshman Matthew Hudson was beaten to the Southern Cross University 10km Run finish line by one second


McAfee was happy to set a personal best.

“I felt really comfortable for five kilometres,” McAfee said. “I keep doing this event and bombing at five kilometers, so I was really happy.

“I took the lead at seven kilometres then got overtaken in the last 250 metres, so I gave it everything and I’m happy with that. It’s just a bit unfortunate I didn’t get the win,” he said.

The Southern Cross University 10km Run also featured the IAAF Oceania Area 10km Championships, Queensland 10km Road Running Championships, Australian University Sport Distance Running Championships and the Australian Open Running Club Championships.

This weekend’s race program will also feature the Gold Coast Airport Marathon over 42.195km, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, The Star Gold Coast 5.7km Challenge, Zespri 4km Junior Dash and Zespri 2km Junior Dash.

Top 10 Results 

Men: Timothy Lefroy (ACT) 29m48s 1, Matthew Hudson (NSW) 29m49s 2, Louis McAfee (QLD) 29m50s 3, Adrian Potter (SA) 30m05s 4, Ed Goddard (NSW) 30m17s 5, Guy Walters (NSW) 30m23s 6, Michael Marantelli (VIC) 30m24s 7, Max Stevens (SA) 30m28s 8, Matthew Clarke (VIC) 30m48s 9, Matthew Carlsson (WA) 30m54s 10.

Women: Eloise Wellings (NSW) 32m55s 1, Alexandra Paterson (VIC) 33m10s 2, Laura Nagel (NZL) 34m25s 3, Tara Palm (SA) 34m44s 4, Brittany Zendler (QLD) 34m59s 5, Henrietta Lawrence (VIC) 35m28s 6, Katie Gamble (VIC) 35m47s 7, Brie Thomas (QLD) 35m51s 8, Anna E Fitzgerald (NSW) 35m51s 9, Gemma Maini (VIC) 35m55s 10.

Queenslander Louis McAfee took out third place in the Southern Cross University 10km Run


Flash Quotes

Men – 1st place – Timothy Lefroy 

On his win:

“It’s actually my last race on the east coast for a while, I’m moving over to the UK, so I really wanted to finish on a good note. Obviously it’s a really great event, so yeah it means a lot.”

“I ran a PB about two weeks ago so I wasn’t so fast with the time. I just knew I was going to be in the hunt for a spot on the podium. So anywhere on the podium, I would have been happy [with] so I was lucky to come away with the win I think.

“I am happy [with my time]. Not a PB, I went a touch quicker about a fortnight ago in Launceston. I hadn’t broken 30 [minutes] last month, so it was great to get another one out.”

Men – 2nd place – Matthew Hudson 

On the race:

“We went out quite conservatively. I think Goddard was out in front pushing the pace a bit. I had a chat with Tim [Lefroy] trying to bridge the gap at 5km. So put a bit of a surge in to catch him. I got him at about 7km and then just couldn’t hold on in the end.”

“I’ve raced him in the last three races and every single race we’ve finished within one second of each other. We’re sort of at that same level, but he’s just got a slightly better kick than me.”

On the Gold Coast event:

“It’s really well-organised and they always get a big crowd up here that supports the runners, which is great to see coming through the start and finish line, and it was really good to have all the music playing.

“It’s certainly an event that the rest of Australia should really strive to follow.”

On what’s next:

“I’m going to have a bit of a break now, I’ve had a long season on the track and on the road.

“I’m planning to walk Kokoda with my Dad in about four weeks so I’ll be training for that and then come back and race a few big events on the track at the end of the year.”

Men – 3rd place –  Louis McAfee 

On his race:

“I felt really comfortable for five kilometres. I keep doing this event and bombing at 5km so I was really happy and I took the lead at 7km then overtaken in the last 250, so I mean I gave it everything and I’m happy with that. It’s just a bit unfortunate I didn’t get the win.

“I smashed my PB by like 40 seconds or something so I was happy.”

“I was on scholarship in the (United States) in the state of Idaho and then back here and not sure what’s next. The Bridge to Brisbane might be next race since I’m from Brisbane.

“I wanted top three and then when I was in the lead I was like, ‘wow I might have this’, but not today, but I’m stoked with top three.”

Women – 1st place – Eloise Wellings    

On her win:

“I am really happy with that race.

“It is only my second race in seven months because I’ve been battling injury, but in the last month or two I’ve started to come good again, which is a really positive sign going into the world champs.

“I felt really strong today, much stronger than I did two weeks ago at the Launceston 10km.

“It’s so great to be back on the Gold Coast. I won the half marathon here back in 2015 and I have such great memories here. I have great memories of being up here with my family and they put on such a great event here, which attracts so many of my amazing friends and training partners.”

On her future plans:

“Right now I feel like I am getting fitter and stronger.

“The Commonwealth Games are definitely something I am looking forward to.

“I am hoping to run professionally for as long as I can and it isn’t unheard of for female distance runners to run until their 40s.

“I hope to run for a while yet because come the Commonwealth Games next year I will only be 35, it will be my fourth one and I haven’t finished on the podium yet so, come 2018 that is what I’m aiming for.”

Women – 2nd place – Alexandra Paterson 

On letting Wellings set the pace:

“I knew Eloise was running and I thought it would be a great opportunity to race alongside her because you don’t have the chance very often, so I just tried to stick with her.

“I felt really strong, but Eloise powered through to the finish in first.

“I managed to beat my personal best by 20 seconds, so I am really happy with my result today.

“Next for me is the Cross Country Nationals in Toowoomba at the end of August. It is another 10km marathon, so this is perfect practice and I loved it.”

Women – 3rd place – Laura Nagel (NZL) 

On her race and future plans:

“The race was way better than I expected. I’ve had a shit month with training and haven’t raced since the Hawke’s Bay Marathon. It was great.

“My plan was to take the race as a tempo run, see how I felt and find a comfortable rhythm. I never really thought I could win.

“I was expecting to hit a wall, but I didn’t. I saw the sunshine and was OK. The Gold Coast is awesome, I’m a beach person, so it’s great here.

“Going forward I’m looking to get some consistent training and then it’s the New Zealand cross-country nationals. I’m looking to find some other races in Australia as well.

“The overall goal is to qualify for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, although that is a long way away. But today was a good sign.”

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