Ipswich group's marathon quest
WITH more than a dozen runners from one Ipswich club, the city will be well represented at this weekend's Gold Coast marathon events.
Experienced My Run Club coach and competitor Matt Casos is backing his group to deliver more than handy times in the marathon, half marathon and 10km races.
"I can't remember it being as strong as this," Casos said of the Ipswich contingent.
"Our group has been going for seven years now so a lot of them are getting to the stage where they probably want to do a marathon or a half marathon in the future.
"I've been blown away actually.
"From a coaching point of view, I'm just delighted to have that many down there."
Casos finished 1685th among 45,000 runners at last year's New York Marathon.
He expects a less congested journey around the scenic Gold Coast courses on Saturday and Sunday.
"We're really lucky to have a course like the Gold Coast so close to us," said Casos, 34, preparing for his fourth marathon.
"It is such an advantage to be at home and to actually be able to sleep in your bed the days before instead of a hotel room.
"The course is as flat as you can get. A little bit of wind can happen but really it's just a beautiful course. If there's no rain, it will be ideal."
Joining Casos in Sunday morning's marathon are Ipswich runners Jason Davidson, Dean Jones and Adam MacKenzie.
Davidson and Jones are making their marathon debut with MacKenzie having recently completed the Port Macquarie Ironman event.
My Run Club competitors tackling the half marathon on Sunday include Tim Steinhardt, Aaron Hewitt, Stephen O'Brien, John Stumer, Nicole Preston and Sharon Hogan.
The 10km entrants are Terry Verhaar, Paul Shard and Tony Shaw.
"All our runners have different goals but they are all going well and will run strongly," Casos said.
The Ipswich runners train as a group twice a week from Limestone Park, doing 10-12km each session.
"The more serious runners will then go out and run another four or five times either on their own, or they'll link up with each other during the week," Casos said.
"Since February, we've been training hard for this. Their fitness is quite good at the moment."
Casos has some sound advice for the marathon newcomers.
"I learnt a lot from New York," he said, having tackled one of the world's most challenging events last year.
"Probably the biggest thing that I've told them is to make sure that they try and run the pace that they planned to do.
"And make sure they have a few early nights and ease their training off in the week before."