Runners embrace the next step on the Gold Coast
Gold Coast Airport Marathon organisers are encouraging people to embrace the next step at this year’s 29th anniversary event on Sunday, July 1.
John Wishart, 64, from Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast, holds the record for running the most number of Gold Coast Airport Marathons. This year he will contest his 28th consecutive event after only missing the one in 1979. This means the distance he has covered at the Gold Coast event is 1140km.
John is embracing the next step towards his goal of 30 consecutive Gold Coast Airport Marathons which he plans to reach in 2009. This year John will help others embrace the next step by being a PatCarrollOnline.com
pace setter in the marathon.
He believes this year’s event will be around his 75th marathon since he started running 40 years ago when living in New Zealand.
“I stopped counting at 70,” he said. “I reached 50 at the age of 50, so I think I’m somewhere around 75 now.
“I took up jogging in 1967 after I twisted my ankle and a friend suggested I run to make it stronger. I used to run with the Auckland Presbyterian Harriers and then was persuaded to run the Owairaka Marathon in 1967 which was set up by pioneering New Zealand running coach Arthur Lydiard.”
Since then John has set a personal best of two hours 35 minutes in 1982 at the Melbourne Marathon, with a best Gold Coast Marathon time of 2:36 in 1983.
“The Gold Coast is a great marathon,” he said. “There were very few marathons around in South East Queensland in the 1980s, and it really became ‘the event’.
“It holds some great memories from the very first one in 1980 when we ran around the island from the council chambers. It was a very hot day and I remember wearing out the heels on my shoes by the end.”
John is preparing for the 2007 Gold Coast Airport Marathon with a long run each Wednesday of more than two hours, a one and a half hour run on Saturdays around the Noosa National Park and one or two nights per week with the Hash House Harriers.
Helen Stanton, 34, from North Lakes in Brisbane, is the reigning Queensland marathon champion and recently completed her 10th marathon under three hours.
Helen is embracing the next step this year and moving down in distance along with her marathon running partner Scott Carlson.
“Ten marathons under three hours was the target and now I have achieved that, I’m looking at something shorter this year,” she said. “I ran five marathons last year but now I’ve had a rest, I think I have a couple more left in me.”
Helen only started running in Ballarat in 2000 after prompting from Scott who was a top junior runner in Victoria, and then she got serious when they moved to Queensland in 2003.
“I started running in 2000 just to keep fit and then gradually increased my training,” she said. “I ran a half marathon in 2003 and then the marathon was the next step.
“My first marathon was the 2004 Gold Coast Airport Marathon and each year I have improved my time, and then set my pb last year when I finished second.
“I’ve loved every moment. It has enabled Scott and I to travel quite a bit especially last year when we also did marathons in Chicago, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
“Then we did the Senshu International Marathon in Osaka this year, and I was delighted to represent the Gold Coast Airport Marathon at its sister event once again.
“The Gold Coast Airport Marathon holds great memories – it is a good time of year, the weather is so good, the scenery is amazing and it is so well organised and has become a second home with my mum and sister living there.”
As a marathon couple, Helen looks forward to the times she can train and run with Scott.
“Scott was a top junior and ran with the Bathurst YCW with Mona (Steve Moneghetti) and made state teams with Troopy (Lee Troop).
“He has coached me over the years and we’ve been great support for each other. He’s a shift worker so we don’t get to train together that often, but when we do run together, it is special. It’s been great to have him there for advice and to talk about a running.”
If you wish to embrace the next step like John and Helen, visit www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au
or contact the Gold Coast Airport Marathon office on (07) 5564 8733.A late entry fee applies to all Gold Coast Marathon registrations received after Wednesday, June 6.
Image - the launch of the 2007 Gold Coast Airport Marathon