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ASICS Half Marathon Wins to Robinson and Wellings After Twin Breakaways

Huge kicks four kilometres from home delivered pre-race favourites Brett Robinson and Eloise Wellings decisive victories in the 2022 ASICS Half Marathon on the Gold Coast this morning.

The heaviest of the pre-dawn rain eased to a sprinkle as over 8200 runners faced the 6:00am starting gun.

And the men’s and women’s contests were fascinating races within a race with a handful of runners – leading men and women contenders – getting away and establishing clear air between them and the rest of the field early in the journey.

In the men’s contest, the fancied trio of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games marathoner Robinson, New South Wales distance specialist Ed Goddard and 2012 winner Liam Adams pushed the pace through the 5km mark to open a lead of over 50 metres.

By the half way mark the leaders were running well under three-minute pace and with plenty of light hearted banter going back and forth, they appeared to be setting up the half marathon equivalent of a shootout as they turned for home.

Then, at the 47-minute mark, apparently with no more appetite for small talk, Robinson produced a devastating kick to put himself far enough in front that Goddard and Adams realised they had some serious work to do if they were to reel the bolter in.

At the same time Brisbane workhorse Tim Vincent decided he’d had enough of being in a pack that seemed to consider the frontrunners out of reach, so he decided to hit his own GO button.

It worked and with a kilometre to the finish line he had managed to rein in a fading Adams to finish 16 seconds behind Robinson [1:03:14], 11 seconds behind Goddard [1:03:19] and find himself on the Gold Coast podium for the first time in a time of 1:03:31.

“I had Liam in my sights towards the end there so for the last three kilometres I just put my foot to the floor,” he said.

Race winner and Australian national record-holder Robinson took in the atmosphere while plotting a finish that would pose an insurmountable test for his rivals over the closing stages of the race.

“There were thousands of people out there cheering today, so that gave me a great lift,” Robinson said.

“I was feeling pretty cruisy when we turned [at Paradise Point] and about ten minutes from the finish I thought I’d have a bit of fun and test the boys a little bit and see how they were going.

“I got a gap pretty quickly so I went back and relaxed a little bit knowing I had a good lead that I thought I could keep, so I just enjoyed the last bit,” he said.

In what he described as a “fun” race, second placegetter Ed Goddard said they all went out pretty quick.

“It’s always interesting going out hard in the dark because it’s different from any other race. Brett (Robinson) put a pretty big move on and I just wanted to stay in contact with him.

“The Gold Coast is awesome… it’s great to be up here. I love representing ASICS… you’ve got a big team around you and they share all their support. I love being up here,” Goddard said.

Adams finished in fifth place behind another late escapee from the pack, Liam Boudin who finished in fourth place.

The race for the women’s podium was flagged early when Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games-bound marathoners Wellings and Jessica Stenson tucked themselves a lead group of men who acted as defacto pacesetters for the first half of the journey.

Wellings, who will make an unprecedented fifth Commonwealth Games appearance in Birmingham, and teammate Stenson were inseparable for most of the race until a Wellings kick at precisely the same time as Robinson’s put her out the front far enough that she could confidently hold her lead over the closing stages.

She says her 41 second victory over Stenson [1:11:32] and New Zealand’s third placegetter Laura Nagel [1:15:50] was good preparation for the Commonwealth Games in a month’s time.

“I didn’t really plan the breakaway, but I was feeling good, and I was feeling strong, and it all just worked,” Wellings, the 2015 winner of this event, said.

“I’m reasonably happy with my time [1:10:53] and I thought I ran really strong today and it was a really good confidence booster heading into my fifth Commonwealth Games.

“I feel like I am just getting started again,” she said.

Stenson’s record in this event now reads three second place finishes, two thirds and a fourth in her six tilts at the ASICS Half.

She said she went out aggressively and gave it her all and tried something new….[but] it didn’t all come together.

“At about 15k the goal became just to finish and I am so proud I did that. Those experiences force me to find strategies that I will need later on doing the marathon distance. It was a very valuable experience and I’m happy for Eloise (Wellings).

“The atmosphere was great… I think everyone is so happy to have this event back and you can hear that in their voices.

“I love the Gold Coast. I was drawing on the strength of my result in the marathon from 2018 [Commonwealth Games] It was quite special to think back to that one,” Stenson said.

Today’s program also featured the Health and Wellbeing Queensland 2km and 4km Junior Dashes and the Gold Coast Airport 5km Fun Run with new records set in the 4km and 5km events.

A flying young Caiden McFarlane from Ormeau finally took Riley Cocks’ 12-year-old record of 12:29 by posting the new best mark of 12:16.

It was a cracking run that not only took the old record but demolished it.

Currumbin’s Sienna Bush won the girls’ 4km while Hayden Huang and Halo Keays were the winners of this year’s 2km event.

In the new look 5km Fun Run Brisbane’s Harvey Cramb and Sydney’s Holly Campbell set benchmarks for the future with their respective times of 15:19 and 15:50.

Posted in elite, News.

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