Canberra Marathon Wide Open
11 April 2007
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This Sunday’s Canberra Marathon is one of the most open in the past 20 years. Any of seven men are in strong contention for outright honours with plenty of local interest in debut runners Mark Thompson and Anthony Haber, plus three time winner Gemechu Woyecha.
Challenging the Canberra trio will be a trio from Melbourne - 2005 winner Magnus Michelsson, debut runner Michael Chettle, and Antony Rickards. Also in the mix is Sydney stalwart Jeremey Horne.
Things are no less interesting in the women’s field with no clear favourite amongst Magda Karimali-Poulos and Verity Tolhusrt from Sydney, Eliza Mayger from Darwin, and Belinda Dennett from Melbourne.
Thompson’s debut will be met with interest around Australia as he is a very well credentialled middle distance runner who has represented Australia on a number of occasions. At age 28 he has decided that his future lies with the marathon distance.
Haber has also represented Australia while Michael Chettle was a member last year of the Prime Minister’s team – a group of young marathon runners gaining assistance to help them make it to the top.
Rickards ran 2.26 at both the Gold Coast and Melbourne last year, finishing second in the latter, and he is keen to make another breakthrough and push towards the 2.20 mark.
Horne won the Christchurch Marathon last year and is a consistent placegetter in Canberra but he will probably need to improve on his 2.24 best if he is to come home on a winner on Sunday. Karamali-Poulos was an early favourite last year until she was offered a trip to Japan to run the Nagano Marathon on the same day as Canberra. She ran 2.49.03, outside her personal best of 2.45.29 in Houston in 2005, but a time close to her best may see her ahead on Sunday.
Mayger is the best marathon runner to come out of Darwin in recent times and is set to improve on her 2.52.33 at the Gold Coast last year.
Dennett enjoys the Canberra course, having set her best of 2.50.40 here in 2003. After some time off marathons, she made a comeback last year with a 2.55.16 at Gold Coast and is now ready to break into the 2.40s.
Tolhurst has run 2.47.41 previously and, after finishing third in Canberra and Sydney last year in times closer to 3 hours, she is focused on another sub 2.50.
The field in the marathon, which starts at 7am on Sunday at the Telopea Park School, is likely to exceed 1000 for the first time since 1985.
Support events include the Asics Marathon Eve 5km at 3pm on Saturday, followed at 4pm by a 10km run. On Sunday over 300 children will also participate in the Kids Marathon, which starts at 8am.
11 April 2007