2 July 2017
Gold Coast gold for NSW athletes
Perfect running conditions greeted the contingent of NSW athletes who ventured north to the Gold Coast Marathon over the weekend. There were seasonal bests, PBs, returns to form, and one astounding breakthrough.
Celia who?…...are the words likely to be echoing around the Australian distance community on Sunday. From virtually nowhere NSW’s Celia Sullohern, 25, clocked a stunning 2:34.38, a staggering 18 minute personal best in just her second ever marathon - achieving a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games qualifier.
“I felt really comfortable early on and then I looked at my watch and it was way too quick ‘I’m going to blowup,” Sullohern said.
“I felt way too comfortable and went through in about 76:30, and felt okay. Over the last 5 or 7 km I started to slip a little bit, but not like hitting the wall. I had a ball. I really enjoyed it.”
For the 2012 national cross country champion, she is very early in her marathon career.
“This is my second; last year I ran 2:53. I thought I was way off last year’s form. I was thinking if I go under 3 or 2:55 I would be stoked.”
The potential for Sullohern looks enormous.
“I train with a ‘tri’ group in Yamba. To be honest I didn’t think I had the running legs. I thought I’ve got some base fitness but nowhere near the ‘ks’ I would need. Swift multisport is the Tri group I run with and the remainder of the work I do on my own. My coach is the triathlon squad and I tack on bits myself.”
Progress like this throws up all sorts of possibilities for Sullohern.
“What do I do now?”
Certainly, she will savour this moment and what lies ahead after she has battled injuries and the road to here has been far from smooth.
“It has been hard – character building I would say.”
Milly Clark, confirmed she is in tip-top shape ahead of the IAAF world championships marathon in August with her second fastest ever half-marathon clocking 71:15. She was second to American Sara Hall, but ahead of marathon team-mate Jess Trengove.
“I’m very happy with that, training is going well,” said Clark.
“Sara was off from the gun and I tried to stick with the lead pack. Us Aussies and Desiree (USA) managed to stay in a group. After the turn around, Jess, Desiree and myself broke away. Then about the 16k mark Jess and I broke away. Then with 3 km to go I thought rest day tomorrow and I just went for it.
“It is a PB on this course better than my best of 73:40.
“The Gold Coast course is sensational. I love the course out and back, you get the athletes on the other side of the road cheering for you and calling out your name.”
Her form looks good ahead of London and this run will give her a lot of confidence.
“Yes I think so, no niggles, training really well, aside from the fact I had laryngitis last week. I figure you don’t really run with your throat.”
“I go home now and keep punching out the ks ahead of the London.”
Also in the women’s race was Woodstock’s Bronwyn Hager who placed 16th in 79:36 breaking a half-marathon time barrier.
“It was one of my goals this year to break 80 minutes. I’ve been training pretty hard for it. It was also a 90 seconds PB. It was very hard work, but I knew it would be,” she said.
He will next aim is the Amsterdam marathon, hoping for a PB.
“I know it will be a fast course because Milly Clark ran quick there.”
The Southern Cross University 10km event was a convincing win for Olympian Eloise Wellings in 32:55.
“I had a lot of fun out there,” said Wellings who revealed the results were very important and is a turning point for her who is five weeks away from running in the 10,000m at the IAAF world championships in London.
“This year has definitely been one of my biggest challenges. I’ve been struggling with an injury since December and I’m just finding my feet again. I almost had to put world champs out of my head, but now it’s back in and it is kind of like ‘Alright here we go’”.
The men’s race was a terrific battle, right to the line. Matt Hudson placed second, just one second behind ACT’s Tim Lefroy in times of 29:48 and 29:49.
“I think in the last five races there has only been one second between us and I only got him once in the state 5k. We are at the same level, he just has that kick,” said Hudson.
The race unfolded unusually with a breakaway.
“We went out fairly conservatively, but Ed Goddard put a gap on us,” Hudson said. “He went through 5k in about 14:58, and we ran 15:08. Around 5k there was about eight of us. I was with Tim and said, ‘we need to start bridging this gap’. We then started to pick it up from there. We caught Ed at about 7km, just after the turn around. Louis hit the front and then there was a kick down at the end.”
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Eloise Wellings winning the 10km on the Gold Coast (courtesy of David Tarbotton)