“It all comes down to who’s willing to hurt the most in the end.”
So says Benita Willis, four-time Olympian and Ambassador for the Gold Coast Marathon.
Benita joined Jann Stuckey MP, Minister for Tourism, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and as well as representatives from Gold Coast Airport and Events Management Queensland to launch the 36th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon this morning.
“As we look toward the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, it is events like the Gold Cosat Airport Marathon that showcase to a global audience our ability to host high calibre international sporting events,” Minister Stuckey said.
“Last year saw more than 27,000 competitors converge on the Broadwater Parklands, with 53% of those travelling to the Gold Coast from interstate or overseas,” she said.
More than 30,000 participants of all ages and abilities will participate in 2014, the first year the event has been run since attaining the prestigious international designation of a Gold Label Road Race by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Benita Willis explained that despite a long and successful career, most of her race wins and records are held overseas as high standard races were rare in Australia until recently. The IAAF, the sport’s world governing body awards Road Race Labels only to those marathons that meet strict criteria for excellence in the delivery of the race.
Also attending the launch was marathon legend Lee Troop who plans to finish his twenty year career at this year’s event. He was in hospital last week with a blood clot.
“I’m not exactly sure what the doctor said but I heard him say ‘run’ and I took that as a green light that I was still allowed to come to the GC and compete,” Troop said.
It’s been eight years since he won a marathon on the Gold Coast and in 2011 he competed and just fell short of being selected for the Olympics, but he still loves coming to the event.
“To be able to come here and do my last Marathon … it’s not neccessarily about me,” Troop said. “It’s more about my family, my friends, my sponsors, the people who’ve followed my career for twenty years.”
“I get that chance for a last hurrah. I won’t be my fittest and I won’t be my finest, but I sure as hell plan to run my best,” Lee said.
And if Benita’s advice is anything to go by Lee, it just all comes down to how much you’re willing to hurt.
The event program takes place Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 July and features the a heap of races including the full marathon, half marathon, wheelchair marathon, junior dashes of 4km and 2km and a leisurely 10km run.
More at www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au.