Local champion gives Marathon course seal of approval
He was born just a stone’s throw away from the start of the GC2018 Marathon course and proudly lives and trains on the Gold Coast, but Commonwealth Games gold medallist Michael Shelley has never run a marathon in Australia, let alone in his home town.
Born in Southport, Shelley has spent the majority of his career training on the Gold Coast. While he can often be found running the picturesque Spit to Burleigh route, he is yet to complete in a 42.195 kilometre race on home turf in front of his family and friends.
Perhaps it is why he was so excited to see the GC2018 course announced on Monday, a stretch of road he knows better than anybody.
"One of my favourite long runs is from the Spit to Burleigh and most of that has been incorporated into the course," Shelley told GC2018.com.
"It definitely shows off the Gold Coast and I find it’s a very relaxing course. Hopefully that gives me a little bit of an advantage knowing that I train over it a fair bit. Fingers crossed. There are exciting times coming up.
"In winter, obviously it is an amazing place to run, the temperature is great. I grew up running the esplanade, it’s such a special place to run.
"I love training here in summer, it gets really hot, but you get that really nice breeze from the beach, and I’m used to the humidity, so I think that might give me a slight advantage.
"My friends and family have never really seen me run, so it would be amazing to have them supporting me, the course is really open, so there will be a massive crowd cheering us pretty much the whole way."
There is no question Shelley will have the proverbial target on his back on Sunday 15 April as a reigning Commonwealth Games gold medalist.
He needed all of his composure at the 2014 Glasgow Games, where he claimed gold, Australia's first win in the men's Marathon since Steve Moneghetti triumphed in Victoria in 1994.
"The mental aspect is big, you need to be switched on all the time and try to stay relaxed," he said.
"When I won in Glasgow I wasn’t right with the leaders, they were down the road. I needed to stay focused and trust that I was still in the race.
"In the marathon, it is all about little improvements that make a massive difference. You don’t try to run a time, because it’s a match race, you are trying to keep an eye on your competitors, but more importantly, you have to be aware of how your body is going. That’s the big thing.
"You try to shave off about two seconds every kilometre, that makes a massive difference, but it’s about competing not running for time.
"It’s important to have a couple of plans going in, but you need to be very adaptable. Your body might not be feeling great, or something in the race changes and you just need to react and stay calm."
It will be a fast, flat and picturesque course for the Marathon which is set to provide a fitting community finale to the Games.
Alongside Shelley, Jessica Trengove and GC2018 Ambassador Kurt Fearnley, GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie AC unveiled the 42.195km road course for the Marathon from the southern turn at Burleigh Heads.
Mr Beattie said the Marathon, presented by Griffith University, would provide an engaging experience for the community and visitors on the final day of GC2018 competition (Sunday 15 April 2018).
The course will enable fans to get up close to the action from Runaway Bay in the north to Burleigh Heads in the south.
Starting and finishing at the Southport Broadwater Parklands, the course will take runners and wheelchair athletes to a northern turn (4.4km) at Runaway Bay, on a flat and scenic route to a southern turn (25.3km) at Burleigh Heads, before an exciting final stretch back to Southport for the finish.
The wheelchair Marathon, which will be held for the first time ever at a Commonwealth Games, will start at 6:10am, with the women’s Marathon at 7:20am and men’s Marathon at 8:15am.
As one of the free events on the GC2018 program, fans will be able to line the course and create a memorable atmosphere for the athletes on the final day of competition.
A comprehensive public awareness program called Get Set Gold Coast is being implemented to ensure residents and businesses have all the information required to plan for this world-class event.