Gold Coast Marathon visitors boost Queensland economy
The Gold Coast Marathon has enhanced its position as one of the state’s most iconic attractions after attracting a record number of international and interstate visitors to the city.
A head-to-head battle between two of America’s most distinguished female marathoners, Sara Hall and Desiree Linden, will headline the ASICS Half Marathon at this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday 2 July.
Hall, a US National Cross-Country champion and Pan-American Games steeplechase gold medallist, will return to the Gold Coast after placing second in the same race in 2015 while Linden, a two-time Olympian and 2011 Boston Marathon second placegetter, will race on Australian soil for the first time.
“I had an incredible time in my first ASICS Half Marathon on the Gold Coast. It was magical getting to start at dark and watch the sun rise over the broadwater on the perfectly flat road,” Hall said.
“The course is great for running an even effort because of how fast and flat it is. It will be my first long race in a long time, so I’m excited to see where I’m at and hopefully run a personal best time.”
Sara Hall will return to the Gold Coast after placing second in the 2015 ASICS Half Marathon (1:10:49)
The 34-year-old mother of four will head into the 21km race full of confidence after a string of impressive performances over the past 18 months including a 2:28:26 personal best at the 2017 Tokyo Marathon and 1:10:07 half marathon personal best in Houston, Texas last year.
“I have been enjoying my career the most I ever have, which has been such a fun surprise. When you are really enjoying what you are doing, you tend to do it well too,” Hall said.
“Last winter I joined a training group in Ethiopia leading up to the Tokyo Marathon with some of the best runners in the country and it was so fun keeping up with them at 9,000ft elevation.
“I like to train aggressively and love Ethiopian culture and people, so it really suited me and brought a fun new element to my training.”
33-year-old Linden, who holds a half marathon personal best time of 1:10:34, said the ASICS Half Marathon was a chance to extend her marathon season after placing fourth at the Boston Marathon (2:25:06) and seventh in the New York Half Marathon (1:11:05) earlier this year.
“I was looking for a good fast half marathon in mid-July. I’ve seen results from the Gold Coast over the past couple years and it’s always quick for this time of year, has great conditions and is an absolutely gorgeous course,” Linden said.
“I always feel great doing big volume weeks leading into a marathon, but rarely have a chance to taper and race shorter distances during this type of training, so I’m excited to see what type of results this will yield.”
Linden will not only line up alongside her compatriot but she will also reacquaint herself with Rio 2016 Olympic Games Australian rivals Milly Clark and Jessica Trengove who she beat to seventh place in 2:26:08, Clark 18th in 2:30:53 and Trengove 22nd in 2:31:44.
“I was excited to see Sara’s name in the field. She’s had some great races recently and I know she’ll be looking for another quality run. She’s an incredibly tough competitor so I think we’ll really be able to push each other and hopefully we can both land some great times,” Linden said.
“The Australian women were very good in Rio and just stepped up to a whole new level with their marathon performances this spring.
“Jess Trengove’s 2017 London Marathon performance will raise the bar and level of expectation for all the Australian women and I’m expecting a lot of competition up front looking to have a breakthrough day.
“I think this mentality will help pull out some great races from the entire field.”
Both women admitted that other than the race they were most looking forward to catching up with friends and experiencing the country’s unique cuisine and fauna.
“I’m most looking forward to the race. Even though I’ll be locked into the task, the course looks amazing and running is truly the best tour of a city,” Linden said.
“Beyond that, it will be great to see another part of the world and meet some of the best past and present Australian distance runners. I’m very excited for all of it.”
“I feel like in the States we prioritise profit over quality when it comes to food, so I was really blown away by the excellence and creativity of the cuisine in Australia,” Hall said.
“I’m also hoping to run among the wild kangaroos during my visit to the Gold Coast as I did in 2015. It was one of the most memorable runs of my life!”
Marathon PB: 2:28:26 (Tokyo, 2017)
Half Marathon PB: 1:10:07 (Houston, 2016)
Marathon PB: 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)
Half Marathon PB: 1:10:34 (Naples, 2011)
The Queensland Government is proud to support the 2017 Gold Coast Airport Marathon through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
The 39th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July.
Set to attract more than 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities, this year’s race program will feature the Gold Coast Airport Marathon over 42.195km, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, The Star Gold Coast 5.7km Challenge, Zespri 4km Junior Dash and Zespri 2km Junior Dash.