Australian distance running talent Cassie Fien will be eager to achieve an elusive ASICS Half Marathon win at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday.

After a third placing last year following runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010, the Brisbane runner comes into the race this year with her best chance yet.

Fien set a personal best (pb) of 1:11:13 in March when she placed 18th representing Australia at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff.

Standing in the 30-year-old’s way is the number one seed for the race, Japan’s Yuko Watanabe, whose half marathon pb of 1:10:06 is more than a minute faster than Fien’s.

Although Watanabe’s pb was set four years ago, she is capable of reproducing that effort if her marathon performances over the past year are anything to go by. These include a third place finish in last year’s Osaka Marathon in 2:28:36.

Despite securing victory 16 times since the first race in 1983, Japanese women haven’t managed an ASICS Half Marathon victory since Kaoru Nishi won in 2008. Watanabe will be out to end that drought.

Alongside Fien and Watanabe on the start line will be 2016 Hong Kong Olympic Team marathon representative Kit-Ching Yiu (pb 1:12:57), a previous runner-up in this race (2014) Sinead Diver from Victoria, Virginia Moloney from Victoria (pb 1:15:24) and 2015 Auckland Half Marathon runner-up Rowan-Marie Torckler from New Zealand.

Fien will be a strong favourite for the Australian Half Marathon Championships with Diver and Moloney the leading challengers.

New Zealander Torckler will add some trans-Tasman rivalry to the IAAF Oceania Area Half Marathon Championships against the Aussie girls.

In the men’s ASICS Half Marathon, the main Aussie hopes have not one not two but three Japanese standing in their way to line honours.

Two-time ASICS Half Marathon winner (2010, 2011) Jeffrey Hunt (pb 1:02:44) from Sydney and 2016 Australian Olympic marathon representative Scott Westcott (pb 1:03:03) from Newcastle will be vying for race victory as well as honours in the IAAF Oceania Area Half Marathon Championships and Australian Half Marathon Championships.

40-year-old Westcott, who will use the race as a final hit out before travelling to Rio de Janeiro, qualified for his debut Olympic Games when he posted a time of 2:15:30 at the Berlin Marathon.

The three-pronged Japanese attack on the race will be led by Hiroyuki Sasaki (pb 1:02:36) with countrymen Masaya Kakihara (pb 1:04:14) and Takemaru Yamasaki (pb 1:07:32) also capable of reaching a new level in performance this weekend.

The challengers to Hunt and Westcott for the Australian Half Marathon Championships include Duer Yoa from Victoria, Hugh Williams from the ACT, Josh Harris from Tasmania and Courtney Carter from NSW, whilst Aaron Pulford from New Zealand will add intrigue to the IAAF Oceania Area Half Marathon Championships.

The ASICS Half Marathon will start at 6am on Sunday.

Race Records


Benson Masya (KEN) 1:01:16 1992


Lisa Jane Weightman (AUS) 1:09:00 2010

Men’s elite field for ASICS Half Marathon
Hiroyuki Sasaki (Japan)
Jeffrey Hunt (NSW)
Scott Westcott (NSW)
Masaya Kakihara (Japan)
Duer Yoa (VIC)
Hugh Williams (ACT)
Josh Harris (TAS)
Courtney Carter (NSW)
Aaron Pulford (New Zealand)
David Carver (Mauritius)
Brady Threlfall (VIC)
Bradley Croker (ACT)
Joshua Torley (ACT)
Dejen Gebreselassie (TAS)
Takemaru Yamasaki (Japan)
Nick Earl (VIC)
Jack Colreavy
Dylan Evans (TAS)
Paul Morgan (SA)

Women’s elite field for ASICS Half Marathon
Yuko Watanabe (Japan)
Cassie Fien (QLD)
Yiu Kit Ching (Hong Kong)
Sinead Diver (VIC)
Virginia Moloney (VIC)
Rowan Marie Torckler (New Zealand)
Ruth Wilson (TAS)
Cassie Higham (VIC)
Tracey Austin (VIC)
Stephanie Auston (NSW)
Tennille Ellis (QLD)
Sophie Ryan (VIC)
Bronwyn Humphrys (VIC)
Belinda Martin (NSW)
Amy Mattiazzi (NSW)
Lauren Shelley (WA)
Julie Norney (VIC)
Emily Donker (QLD)
Kate Coburn (NSW)

State teams for Australian Half Marathon Championships

ACT – Men
Brad Croker
Joshua Torley
Jonathan Windsor
Craig Benson
James Minto
Mark Bourne

NSW – Men
Jeffrey Hunt
Scott Westcott
Courtney Carter
Jack Colreavy
Mark de Luca
John Bartlett

NSW – Women
Stephanie Auston
Laura James
Kate Coburn
Gemma Jenkins
Bronwyn Hager
Emma Ballantyne

QLD – Men
Anthony Craig
Shawn Claydon
Matt Macdonald
Brad Beer
Christopher Waters

QLD – Women
Cassie Fien
Emily Donker
Aarthi Venkatesan
Christie McKay
Elizabeth Maguire

SA – Men
Paul Morgan
Matthew Fenech
Adam Bishop
Nathan Rout-Pitt
Timon Sideris

SA – Women
Montana MacFarlane
Nadene Gillett
Felicity Alexander
Karen Pienaar
Kirsty Sideris
Lauren Gillis

TAS – Men
Josh Harris
David Thomas
Dejen Gebreselassie
Dylan Evans
Alex Humphrey
Daniel Clarke

TAS – Women
Ruth Wilson
Francesca Smith
Simone Fitzgerald

VIC – Men
Duer Yoa
Brady Threlfall
Nick Earl
Nick Wightman
Tim Bryant

VIC – Women
Sinead Diver
Virginia Moloney
Cassie Higham
Tracey Austin
Sophie Ryan
Bronwyn Humphrys

WA – Women
Lauren Shelley
Kate Fitzsimmons

NT – Men
Andrew Webster
Jason Hamilton

NT – Women
Sarah Tyrrell
Pippa Featherston