Williams hoping for victory at home marathon

Christchurch runner Alex Williams has one eye on the July’s Gold Coast marathon, but is still striving for a personal best at her home town event this weekend.

The 32-year-old will compete in the Christchurch Airport Marathon’s half marathon race on Sunday in what she describes as a competitive training run.

‘‘I’ll go into it as competitive as I can, but obviously I’ll be running on semi-tired legs.’’

With the Gold Coast full marathon her main goal, she won’t be as rested as she could be for Sunday’s 21.1km race, but was still hopeful of featuring near the front of the pack come the finish line.

Two of her main rivals, last year’s winner Lisa Robertson and Katikati’s Sally Gibbs, are in the same boat as Williams and also building up to the Gold Coast event.

Williams’ best at Christchurch was her fifth place last year, but sh has since won both the national half and full marathon titles.

‘‘I’m feeling pretty good,’’ she said.‘‘I had a run that I was pretty happy with – the 15km build-up event – a couple of weeks ago and I ran pretty much exactly how I wanted to run.’

Her ‘‘home’’ event means plenty to Williams. The SBS Christchurch Marathon was her first after she started to take running seriously.

That was in 2005 and while her debut time of 1 hour 36 minutes wouldn’t be enough to push the leaders this Sunday, her PB of 1.17:40 will be.

‘‘My plan will just to be to run my own race and concentrate on not going out too hard. I’ll be giving it my all and trying to win on the day, but the Christchurch race is really competitive, it’s going to be really tough.’’

The men’s half marathon section is full of possible winners and, weather dependent, Jonathan Wyatt’s 11-year-old course record could well be threatened.Wellington rookie Hugo Beamish looks to be the pre-race favourite, but certainly won’t have everything his own way.

Winners of the 2008 and 2011 full marathon, Rowan Hooper and (Singapore’s) Ring Yen Mok will be right there as will a trio of capable Australians.

Beamish, 24, is the current New Zealand 5000m champion and has spent several years on scholarship at Villanova University in the Unites States.

With best 10,000m and 5000m times of 28.53 and 13.47, Beamish has speed on his side.

Runner up from the last ‘‘city’’ event, Ben Toomey will lead a trio of Australians shooting for a time of 65 minutes and a spot on the Australian team which will attend the half marathon world championships later this year.

All of the above runners will need to keep the pace quick from the start because should it turn into a sprint finish, national half marathon champion Hamish Carson – also the New Zealand 1500m champion – will be hard to beat.

The Press