New York run to thank city
HAVING run 4000km over the past 12 months, proud Ipswich athlete Matt Casos is tackling the world famous New York City Marathon to achieve more than a personal goal.
He's competing for Ipswich.
"I really do see this New York run as not just me going there and running. I feel like I'm representing Ipswich as well," Casos said.
"Ipswich has been such a part of my life, being born here, at Ipswich Grammar, and running for the Ipswich athletics club and training so much in Limestone Park.
"It's taken a fair bit of work."
Casos, 34, had to qualify for his November 6 challenge of a lifetime.
He expects to be on the second or third row as 50,000 runners launch from the start line on Sunday week.
While aiming to finish in the top 300, Casos appreciates how Ipswich has helped his training.
For many years, he has run 80-100km a week around Limestone Park, Queens Park and some favourite courses around Wulkuruka, Leichhardt and Brassall.
"That's a loop that I have really run for the last 22 years and I just really enjoy that," he said.
"Ipswich is a really nice place to get out there and run. There's plenty of open paths and generally the traffic and all that is not too bad from a running point of view."
Casos even returned from an 18-month coaching stint in Tasmania to concentrate on training and losing weight for the New York marathon.
The former Ipswich Grammar School student is glad he did.
"When I was selected to run in the New York marathon, I basically made the decision to come back to Ipswich and do all my training with my existing squad runners," he said.
He's been able to focus on his marathon preparation while working in administration for the state government.
Casos is heading to Los Angeles tomorrow for five days before taking on the New York mission.
"I'll probably run a 10km race (on Sunday) over there just as a final warm-up, just to turn my legs over," he said.
He plans to be in New York on Wednesday to finish acclimatising for Sunday week's big race.
"I'll have about nine or 10 days before the race, so I should be well and truly relaxed and hydrated and legs freshened up and ready to go," he said.
Casos is making the trip with supportive partner Laurelle. His parents, Paul and Pauline, are planning to fly to New York to watch him race.
Casos' training partner Tony Shaw is also competing, having gained entry to the field through the ballot system.
"It's really a once in a lifetime opportunity for me," Casos said.
In his 22nd year of competitive running, Casos said the New York Marathon would be his racing swansong.
"This is probably going to be the pinnacle of what I've done," the Deebing Heights athlete said.
"The process was that I had to run a qualifying time and I ran it in January of this year.
"I snuck under the qualifying time.
"Once I got into the field, then I made the decision in my mind that this will be last major effort.
"There's no better way to go out than in New York."
- Ipswich athlete Matt Casos is preparing for his third (and toughest) marathon, among 50,000 runners in New York next month.
- The 34-year-old achieved a personal best 27th at the 2003 Melbourne Marathon (2hr 45min 14sec) and 45th (two hours, 48m, 43s) at the Gold Coast Marathon the same year.
- Casos is a five-time Ipswich Grammar School cross country champion and represented Australia at the 1998 World Duathlon Championships. He has run 18 half marathons and in 11 Sydney City 2 Surf races.