Monday, July 5, 2010

Games marathoner Jeff Hunt wins Gold Coast half-marathon

AUSTRALIA'S best prospect in the Commonwealth Games marathon says winning the Gold Coast half-marathon has given him sizeable shot of confidence.

Sydney's Jeff Hunt (1:03:18) came home strongly ahead of fellow Games marathoner Martin Dent (1:03:21) and Japan's Hironori Arai (1:03:24 ).

Seven of the top 10 runners were from Japan.

"This win's a key indicator for me ahead of New Delhi, it solidifies the fact that I know even on a solid pace I can still close pretty quickly and that's what's needed in the marathon," Hunt said.

"My goal in the Commonwealth Games is to (win a) medal.

"Everything could fall into place for me on the day and I could win a gold medal or it might not and I could come 10th."

All five of Australia's Commonwealth Games marathon runners used the half marathon or 10km run as part of their preparation for New Delhi.

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Canberra's Dent said he was happy with his race.

"I wasn't worried about running too fast today," he said.

"Trying to push the pace wasn't going to help me finish in the top position and that's what road racing's all about a lot of the time."

Dent said his next race in his preparations for New Delhi will be a 10km run in Launceston in a fortnight.

"Then I've got the City to Surf in Sydney in August where I'll take on (fellow Games marathoner) Michael Shelley who won the 10km race here yesterday.

"Hopefully I can hold him off in Sydney, because he absolutely flew yesterday."

Melbourne's Jane Weightman sliced 38 seconds off the 19-year-old record to win the women's half marathon in 1:09 flat.

The 31-year-old business consultant is considered a strong medal chance in New Delhi.

In April she dominated the Nagano marathon, and said she's getting stronger with every race she runs.

"I knew I was in good shape today but you get a bit nervous when you know you've trained well and want to put a marker on the board," she said.

"So I'm really relieved I was able to win today."

Kenyan runners James Kariuki (2:13:53), Peter Kiprotich (2:15:47) and Ben Chebet (2:17:18) took the top places in the men's marathon.

The women's marathon was dominated by Japanese runners with Kaori Yoshida winning in 2:31:33 ahead of Chiharu Matsuo (2:36:53) and Mayumi Fujita (2:39:10).