An American distance running duo, representatives of Australia’s marathon team for the World Championships, a strong Japanese contingent and four previous race winners will headline the ASICS Half Marathon on the Gold Coast on Sunday 2 July.
Leading US distance runner Sara Hall will return to the Gold Coast aiming to stand one step higher on the podium than her first visit.
The 34-year-old finished second in the ASICS Half Marathon in 2015 but comes to the Gold Coast this year in better form.
Earlier this year Hall clocked a personal best of 2:28:26 for the full marathon in Tokyo after last year lowering her half marathon PB to 1:10:07.
Also flying the flag for the USA in the race will be 33-year-old Desiree Linden who, like Hall, comes into the race in hot form.
In April Linden placed fourth in the Boston Marathon in 2:25:06 and a month earlier placed seventh in the New York Half Marathon in 1:11:05, just shy of her PB of 1:10:34.
Queensland’s Cassie Fien, 31, will return to defend her victory last year when she broke the winner’s tape in 1:11:21.
South Australia’s Jessica Trengove and 2014 race winner Milly Clark (NSW) will also be leading contenders and the pair will use the race as vital preparation for the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics to be held in London in August.
Both have shown tremendous form over the past 12 months with 29-year-old Trengove placing 10th in the prestigious London Marathon in April in a PB of 2:27:01 and 28-year-old Clark following up a half marathon PB of 1:10:48 in Cardiff last year with a 1:12:22 finish in New York in March.
Rising 22-year-old Japanese runner Mizuki Tanimoto has legitimate claims for a podium finish following a1:12:17 PB in Yamaguchi earlier this year.
Four of the women in the race will renew acquaintances formed two years ago – a race in which Sara Hall placed second, Cassie Fien third, Jessica Trengove fourth and Milly Clark sixth.
The men’s ASICS Half Marathon will be headlined by the return of Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games marathoner Liam Adams as well as World Championships representatives Jeff Hunt and Josh Harris.
It will be the fourth time Adams has raced in the ASICS Half Marathon where he has produced two of his fastest ever half marathon performances including his 2012 victory in 1:03:28 (PB) and his second place two years ago (1:03:29).
The 30-year-old Victorian will arrive on the Gold Coast in fine form after taking top honours in the Sydney Half Marathon (1:05:11) in May.
New South Welshman Jeff Hunt, 34, and Tasmanian Josh Harris, 26, will be striving for a good result as a confidence booster just over a month out from London.
Hunt is a two-time winner of the ASICS Half Marathon in 2010 and 2011. If he can win another, Hunt will join fellow Aussie Lisa Weightman and Japan’s Takako Kotarida as the only three-time winners of the race.
Harris also knows the course well having placed fifth last year, while another returning Australian is 26-year-old Victorian talent Andrew Buchanan who placed second in the Southern Cross University 10km Run on the Gold Coast.
Japan will have a formidable attack on the men’s race with Hiroki Yamagishi, Koji Gokaya and Keita Nagura all with PBs of under 1:04 set recently.
The male and female winner of the ASICS Half Marathon will win 6,000 AUD in prize money, with a 2,000 AUD bonus if the winner breaks the race record.
Events Management Queensland CEO Cameron Hart said the ASICS Half Marathon would add to a great day of international road running on the Gold Coast on Sunday 2 July.
“We recently announced a tremendous field of elite runners and wheelchair athletes for the 42.195km Gold Coast Airport Marathon and now we are pleased to confirm one of the strongest ASICS Half Marathon fields that we have ever assembled,” Mr Hart said.
“It’s great to welcome top elite runners from overseas who will challenge some of our homegrown best and many rising stars of the road in the ASICS Half Marathon.”
The race records are: 1:01:16 – Benson Masya (KEN) 1992; 1:09:00 – Lisa Weightman (AUS) 2010.
Dickson Marwa (2009), Lee Troop (2004) and Pat Carroll (1987) are the only winners of the ASICS Half Marathon who have also won the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
Eight runners have won the ASICS Half Marathon more than once.
Lisa Weightman (07, 09-10) and Takako Kotarida (00-02) have the most wins in the ASICS Half Marathon at three, while Kotarida is the only runner to have won three in succession.
An Australian has won the previous eight editions of the women’s ASICS Half Marathon.
Women’s Elite Field
Sara Hall (USA) 1:10:07
Desiree Linden (USA) 1:10:34
Milly Clark (AUS) 1:10:48
Jess Trengove (AUS) 1:11:07
Cassie Fien (AUS) 1:11:13
Mizuki Tanimoto (JPN) 1:12:17
Men’s Elite Field
Jeff Hunt (AUS) 1:02:44
Hiroki Yamagishi (JPN) 1:02:51
Koji Gokaya (JPN) 1:02:52
Liam Adams (AUS) 1:03:28
Keita Nagura (JPN) 1:03:56
Josh Harris (AUS) 1:05:51
Andrew Buchanan (AUS) Debut
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.
For more information visit goldcoastmarathon.com.au.
Main background photo: Milly Clark: World Half Marathon Championships: Cardiff, 26 MAR 2016: Photo by Keith McClure