Originally published May 2017
From 1-2 July 2017, more than 27,000 runners from around the world will assemble at the start line of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM). For many, this will be their first attempt at completing Australia’s leading marathon, for others the GCAM marks a homecoming of sorts- a chance to reach a new personal best on the flat course alongside the clear blue of the Pacific Ocean.
We chat to Australian running royalty eager to share Australia’s leading marathon with the world. Together, Rob de Castella OAM (or ‘Deek’), Steve Moneghetti AM (‘Mona’), Lee Troop (‘Troopy’), Benita Willis (‘B’) and Pat Carroll (‘PC’) have donned the Gold Coast Marathon racing bib more than 50 times. They have represented Australia at the Olympics 15 times and the Commonwealth Games 14 times.
What keeps you coming back for the GCAM?
Deek: It’s the best running weekend in the country. Course, crowd, location and organisation – my family and I want to be a part of it.
Mona: The people. It is such a friendly, well-organised event that it is too good to miss.
Troopy: The atmosphere is amazing and it really is a true celebration of our sport from young to old and elite through to the fun-runner. I love being involved as a runner, guest speaker and commentator.
B: I love the Gold Coast and feel this buzz of excitement in the air during the whole GCAM. The organisers do a great job with such smooth running of all races and making it such a great experience for all involved. Probably a big reason why I come back each year, is to see the thousands of people enjoy the sport I love so much - no matter what their ability, gender, age or background. Seeing people achieve life-long goals is amazing too.
PC: I love running and I also love the Gold Coast. The GCAM is a great combination for me and each time I attend I get a buzz when I reflect on my strong history with the event.
How does the GCAM compare to other marathons around the world?
Deek: It’s one of the biggest second-tier marathons and now the winning times are getting faster, we’ll see more and more top runners coming to get PBs and this will increase the profile even more.
Mona: It is certainly comparable in terms of course, scenery, organisation and atmosphere and it is now building a real tradition also.
Troopy: GCAM is up there with some of the best marathons in the world. Granted it is not a World Marathon Major, but it is by Australia and Oceania terms and is growing in popularity.
B: From the elite end, it stacks up against the major marathons I have run including Chicago, New York, London as well as mass participation and atmosphere along the course. It is very well run and gives me as much excitement being there as I felt in those other cities in the past.
PC: The GCAM rivals many great international marathons. The fact that the course is perfectly flat places GCAM in a unique and prestigious group of international marathons.
What is your top tip for anyone running the GCAM for the first time?
Deek: Don’t disrespect the marathon! Train fully, prepare well, run smart and finish strong.
Mona: For a first time competitor… You only do the first one once so take it all in, aim only to finish and take a holiday afterwards as you will have earned it!
Troopy: Enjoy the experience. So much time, effort and energy has gone into the event and we never really take the time to enjoy it. The course is flat, the weather is good, the crowd is energetic and all you have to do is enjoy it.
B: Just don’t go out too hard. Make sure you have a plan going into the race and if you are focusing on a time or just to finish - plan your race around this and don’t be tempted to deviate from the plan. Believe in yourself when the going gets tough and think of why you are running and how awesome you’ll feel when you cross the line.
PC: To involve a manageable training workload which will involve what you “can” realistically undertake rather having a mind-set centred around what you “should” involve.
What do you like most about the Gold Coast?
Deek: In addition to all the above, it is now an annual reunion of the top Aussie marathon runners. It is the ONLY time we have to get together and catch up.
Mona: The weather, the outdoors nature of the place and the convenience of having everything you want so close by (food, shopping, attractions, beach, airport, sporting venues).
Troopy: I like the relaxed vibe. With so much to see and do, there is something for those that want to relax, party or sightsee.
B: I love how people there are amazing and unique, the beaches are fantastic and weather amazing. It’s also very easy to get to for people flying in from other states in Australia or other countries. Great airport and accessibility though the whole city.
PC: The ocean, amazing beaches, seeing the sun rise as you run along the Broadwater. The locals are super friendly and always up for a cheer as you run past.
For more information on the Marathon, please visit http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/