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Gold Coast Marathon inaugural winner returns for 40th anniversary

Inaugural Gold Coast Marathon winner Eric Sigmont will return to the Gold Coast Marathon for the 40th edition

Words: Risa Utama

At 69-years-young, Eric Sigmont will run the Gold Coast Marathon again this July, forty years on from his win in the event’s inaugural year.

The Victorian runner said he could not believe it had been four decades since his 1979 victory where he clocked a time of 2 hours 28 minutes 44 seconds.

“It feels like it was just yesterday,” Eric said.

“What I remember most about the race is the people in their front gardens using hoses to keep us cool. You didn’t see that in any other race.”

The event started as a Rotary Club initiative to promote healthy living on the Gold Coast, featuring a six-lap loop between the Isle of Capri and Chevron Island where 691 competitors raced next to cars on the highway.

Eric’s win was not an overnight success story. He began running at age 15 and received an athletics scholarship to study at the University of Houston in the United States.

The then 31-year-old moved back home to Melbourne and entered the Gold Coast Marathon after he was attracted to the first prize on offer.

“When I was in the US I met a girl and we got married in 1975,” he said.

“Her family lived in Hawaii so when I saw the prize was a trip to Honolulu, I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit.”

Leading up to the marathon, Eric sized up the competition and felt confident his previous races would stand him in good stead.

The Gold Coast Bulletin’s 1979 report about Eric Sigmont’s win at the inaugural Gold Coast Marathon 

Eric Sigmont running at the Honolulu Marathon, his prize for winning the inuagural Gold Coast Marathon in 1979 

“I had expectations of winning because I had already completed 15 marathons and run 2:22:00 a year earlier,” he said.

“One of the chaps from that race was also running the Gold Coast Marathon, so I knew it was between the two of us. We started off running together but then I pulled into the lead at half way.

“After winning the race I had adrenaline running through me. My wife was also running so I watched her finish in third place.”

He was treated to the trip to Hawaii where he placed 26th in the Honolulu Marathon and followed up his 1979 win the next year with fourth place.

Eric said his passion for running and the event’s thrilling atmosphere enticed him to return the Gold Coast for the fifth time.

“I love running with thousands of people and having a crowd on the sidelines cheering. It will be fantastic to be back,” he said.

His advice for fellow runners is to wake up early on race day, run at an even pace and soak up the community atmosphere.

“Don’t go too fast too early and enjoy the people around you,” Eric said.

“If you feel good towards the end, then bring it on home.”

Although Eric said running at the 40th anniversary would be a good opportunity to put an end to his marathon career, he could be tempted to return.

“I might come back in 10 years’ time for the 50th anniversary.”

The 40th edition Gold Coast Marathon will be held on 30 June – 1 July 2018.

It will feature eight races including the Gold Coast Marathon (IAAF Gold Label Road Race), Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Gold Coast Airport Fun Run, Garmin 4km Junior Dash and Garmin 2km Junior Dash.

The Gold Coast Marathon is organised by Events Management Queensland, a major event management company wholly owned by the Queensland Government as part of Tourism and Events Queensland.

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