Striders Shine At Gold Coast Marathon Festival

Matt & Emily Stark after a blistering 4km race

*Updated* This years Gold Coast Marathon saw the biggest contingent of Striders ever. As last year there were plenty of debutantes at half and full marathon. There were some inspirational performances as well, not necessarily at the front of the field. Alan Whittle is facing a heart operation in days and he defied doctors orders to finish after careful but determined training. Alan ran across the line with Fabian Gonzales (Pix) who hit trouble at 27km’s. As usual, the race was graced by the presence of the perpetual angel who never runs for herself and always helps others to get across the line. Mary Jackson helped Fabian push through the barriers and eventually gathered Alan as well. The genetic freaks at the front are impressive but the people who finish despite significant difficulty (and those who help them) are inspiring.

The debutantes are inspiring as well. Each Half Marathon and Marathon medalists are winners in their own right. Many have come a long way from the couch, into an active life and to the point where they set themselves big goals and have now achieved them. That is inspiring to watch from the side and a pleasure to cheer on. To see people live their athletic dreams is a joy. For some, its more than simply an athletic dream and there is a lot more riding on the event in terms of overcoming significant life challenges.

On Saturday our hot to trot juniors Mat & Emily Stark took on the 4km with a fast finish of 18:11 & 19:04 respectively. Gary Wood also took on the 10km and finished in 48min with a big smile. Warren Jensen nailed his first 10km in 1:04. On Sunday morning the Half Marathoners kicked off first in perfect weather, overcast and cool with little wind. First across the line from Striders was Michelle Brownhill with a blistering 1:37 Gavin Hendry at 1:46 and then a good bunch: Tony Sampson (debutant) 1:48, Tim Carr 1:50 (debutant) , another inspirational run by Thomas Donnet in 1:51, Sandy Scott 1:52, Geoff Oliver (debutant) 1:57, Karen Reardon 2:00, Amanda McQueen (debutant) 2:01, Zhara Dibella 2:02 and Jane Schmidhauser 2:07.

In the marathon Wayne Jones crossed the line first in an excellent 3:14. Enda Cotter started the day without much sleep after a robbery at his house and the police being around in the early hours of the morning. He shook that off for an excellent debut at 3: 25. There was a battle royal going on between Duncan Price and Abi Griffin with Duncan finishing a nose (5 seconds) in front with them both on 3:33. Luis Fernandes was backing up from the Madrid Marathon only about 7 weeks prior to he ran a very good 3:35. Michael Stark toughed it out through Labrador and crossed in 3:40, impressive for such a tall fella. Karen Brown made an impressive debut at 3:42 followed by Jenny Cawood in 3:48 and yet another debutant Megan Watterston at 3:49. Corne Grotius was all smiles for a 4:27. Fabian Gonzalez and Alan Whittle were chaperoned across the line by our club saint Mary Jackson in 5:21.  Check out a gallery of pics Stan took here.

Gary Wood all smiles after finishing the 10km

The usual apologies apply to anyone whose name didn’t make it into the list. If you are aware of any please let me know and I’ll edit.

So what’s next? The Brisbane Marathon Festival is on August 7, perhaps there would be some interested in the 10km or Half? Ok think about it next week!

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