The inaugural Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships this Sunday in Cardiff has attracted 18 Commonwealth nations, including Australia. The event is run in-conjunction with the Cardiff Half Marathon and has a strong line-up of athletes including defending champion and course record holder, Kenyan athlete John Lotiang.
Australia have selected a competitive squad of seven athletes and interest is high to see how Jack Rayner’s red-hot domestic road form can transfer to the international stage. He has been blitzing records and opposition over 10km, 12km and the half-marathon around Australia, the last two distances being national titles.
Heading the women’s Aussie line-up is Gold Coast Commonwealth Games athlete Celia Sullohern. It will be the fourth occasion she has puling on the green and gold and the first occasion on the roads, following her two world cross country teams in 2011 (juniors) and 2013 and then the track at the Commonwealth Games.
“I'm looking forward to the experience of racing on Sunday,” said Sullohern from Europe. “There's a real upbeat vibe as the Cardiff Half marathon is a big mass participation event here.”
The full Australian team joining Rayner and Sullohern is:
DeJen Gebreselassie T
Ed Goddard N
Nic Harman W
Jack Rayner V
Celia Sullohern N
Casey Wood S
Marnie Ponton N
Kenyan will be strong, particularly in the men’s team event with three sub-61 minutes athletes. In addition to defending champion Lotiang, they have teammates Joseph Nzioki (60:23) and Daniel Muteti (60:54). They have the potential to sweep the podium. Kenyan are also strong in the women with Glasgow Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist Flomena Daniel. She is in terrific form following fourth in the marathon at the 2017 world championships in a year where she set her PB of 2:21.22. Over the half, she has a PB of 67:39.
Uganda’s Fred Musobu, a world mountain running champion has a handy half-marathon PB of 61:38, as does Tanzanian Gabriel Gerald Geay with 61:13. In the women Tanzania has a podium prospect in Failuna Abdi Matanga who has a PB of 69:36.
The best local prospect will be Dewi Griffiths of Wales, who was fourth last year in a significant PB of 61:33. Englishman Ben Connor, with a 2018 half PB of 61:11 will be another to watch. In the women’s race Wales’ Jenny Nesbitt, who raced Celia Sullohern in the 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games, will lead their prospects and be looking to improve her PB of 72:54.
When: 10.00am Sunday 7 October 2018
Where: Cardiff, Wales
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David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia