27 Aug 2018
Quick times for Cooper and Cox in Sydney half
Matthew Cox and Noni Cooper are the winners of the 2018 Sydney half, but their performances were not what they expected. In the supporting program, the Greater Bank Fun Run events, the athletes enjoyed a choice of 4km and 7km runs.
Keen to improve her prospects of winning the NSW female distance of the year, Noni Cooper (SUT), added the half marathon to her winter racing program.
“I was just trying to finish in the top-10 to get some points for distance runner of the year, that was my only plan,” said Cooper, but to her surprise she would be first across the line in a fast time.
“I’m just so happy. I’ve never won anything at state level, so it is just so awesome.”
It was a massive lifetime best for Cooper who ran 77:33 minutes, the fastest winning time in the race for nine years.
“It was a three or four minutes PB today. I just wanted to run under 80, however I have been running well this season.”
Cooper with a maximum of 10 points looks a safe bet to win the NSW female distance of the year.
In second was Gemma Jenkins (Run Crew) a relatively new athlete to the sport. She ran an impressive 78:10 minutes.
“It was my third race of the year,” Gemma said. “It was a PB today bettering my 78:42 from the Gold Coast last year after which I got sick I have been trying to build back since.
“I wasn’t nervous. I ran by feel and did not even look at my watch.”
“I’ve only been running for the last four years. I contacted Anna Fitzgerald via Running Mums Australia and she recommended to train with Gary Howard, so I am very fortunate to have her help.
In third was another athlete from the Gary Howard Run Crew squad, Jamie McIver (SGD) in a time of 85:37.
“This was my first half marathon, so I took it out pretty conservative as I didn’t know what to expect,” McIver said. “Then I felt pretty good in the last few laps.” McIver lives in Helensburgh, but enjoys the Run Crew so much, she travels to Sydney twice a week for squad sessions.
MEN’S HALF MARATHON
Matt Cox (BAN), the 2014 and 2016 champion, primarily entered the race to help a friend.
“I was supposed to be pacing Reece (Langdon) for the first 14 ks but then got a bit carried away. The plan had been to run about 68 minutes, but it got a bit quicker.”
Cox and Langdon passed the 7km mark in 22:31 and 22:38 respectively, but Cox moved away on lap two to hold a minute lead reached in 45:41.
It was probably a good thing for Cox to start more conservatively.
“I felt really comfortable and as you know I often go out too hard and the last laps are a bit of a struggle. So, taking it a bit easier on the first lap I felt good in the last 7k and picked it up a bit.”
He closed in an impressive time of 66:28. The time indicates he is set for a good run in the Melbourne Marathon in October.
Langdon ran on for second in 68:52.
“It went quite well today,“ he said. My PB coming into this was 69:36 so to run 68:52 is quite pleasing. The plan was to go out with Matt Cox for the first 10k, going for 67 minute pace but I started slowing around the 12 or 14k mark so it was pretty hard for me to hold on.”
In third was four-time winner Russell Dessaix-Chin (SYU) in 71:39.
Winners of the Greater Bank Fun Run events were:
Four kilometres: Brody Elbourne 15:16 and Hailey D’Ombrain 17:18
Seven kilometres: Anna White 26:03 and Jacob Yuide 24:13.
View the full results.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Noni Cooper (courtesy of David Tarbotton)