Kenya’s Silah Limo breaks Robert de Castella’s 32-year-old record to win Gold Coast marathon
GOLD Coast marathon organisers are already hatching plans to take the event to the next level after Kenyan winner Silah Limo delivered the race the breakthrough performance it has been yearning for.
Making his marathon debut, Limo broke former world champion Robert de Castella’s 32-year-old Australian all-comers record to win the race in 2hr 9min 14sec.
After the race earnt gold label status from athletics world governing body the IAAF, the deepest and fastest field ever assembled toed the line on Sunday, with expectation rife the race record of 2:10.01 would fall.
But Limo’s time is likely to push the race into the international spotlight, validating the Coast’s reputation as a fast, flat course.
Gold Coast marathon chief executive Cam Hart said while there would be some time for reflection on the magnitude of Sunday’s achievement, organisers would continue to push ahead to grow the race’s status further.
“It’s a record-breaking event but it’s a historic event, 32 years that record (de Castella’s Australian all-comers mark) stood,’’ Hart said.
“A lot of marathons in Australia were trying to have a go at it … and the fact that it’s happened really will put the event on the global map.
“We were close to getting a 2:08 time today, so the next thing is, let’s get a 2:08.
“The faster times you get, the more athletes, particularly elites, are going to focus on it.
“And the elites become the focal point of the sport … so with the elites will come the recreational runners behind them.’’
More than 27,000 athletes entered the carnival’s events over the weekend, with 23,985 finishing races from the 2km junior dash to yesterday’s full marathon.
De Castella, who was thrilled his mark had finally fallen, said the result would further enhance the Gold Coast marathon’s already stellar status.
“I think it’s significant, it’s now absolutely the fastest course in Australia,’’ he said.
“We’ve always known that the course here is quick but now we’ve got the time to prove it.
“We should be aiming to run 2:08s and 2:07s, especially with the calibre of the African fields we’re getting in here, so I think there’s still work to do.
“But this is a great step and to have a record that’s 32 years old, it’s well and truly overdue to be smashed.’’
Marathon chairman Kerry Watson said the aim was always to achieve more.
“It’s always been our aim to be the best. It’s difficult to do sometimes because of the costs of some of these things,’’ he said.
“We believe and we’re confident that we’ve got the best return of any event put on in Queensland.
“One of our strong points, as opposed to a lot of other events, they don’t bring any international content in.”