AUSTRALIAN Paralympian Bill Chaffey has made a triumphant return to the Gold Coast Marathon, taking out the Wheelchair Marathon, while golden girl Madison de Rozario continued her love affair with the Gold Coast.
Chaffey had been an annual participant in the Gold Coast Marathon, winning the wheelchair event in 2015 and placing second in 2016.
The five-time world para-triathlon champion took a two-year sabbatical from the race to concentrate on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, before making a triumphant return in 2019, winning in 1:46:12.
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“It’s good to be back,” he said. “I won back in 2015, came second in 2016 and came back for the win today.”
“I was a bit concerned about Richard and how close he would be, but I managed to break him at about 15km and hold on.”
“I was dreading the rain. I don’t like pushing in the rain because we get a bit of slip on the push rims. The conditions weren’t the best that I have raced here but how can I complain.”
Second male across the line was four-time Paralympian and 2017 winner Richard Colman in 1:52:10. While six-time Paralympian Christie Dawes finished second in the women’s event in 1:52:23.
Chaffey and Colman pushed each other early with the pair going through the 5km marker in Surfers Paradise together at 12:31.
Chaffey had edged ahead by the 10km, reaching that point on the new section of the course at 25:21, with a 27-second break back to Colman.
De Rozario was second overall and took the women’s crown for the second year in a row in 1:49:35.
The Gold Coast remains a favourite for the 25-year-old, who not only won this event last year, but also won two Commonwealth Games gold medals.
De Rozario was in fact the first wheelchair athlete through the 5km at 12:30.
Chaffey reached the halfway mark in 53:26, while de Rozario reached that point in 55:07.
Kurt Fearnley’s 2016 race record of 1:30:18 stays intact, while the women’s record of 1:43:45, set by Christie Dawes, also in 2016, also remains as the benchmark.
In the Wheelchair 15km, first across the line was Cory Crombie (AUS/WA), second was Jono Tang (AUS/NSW) and third was Jason McGregor (AUS/QLD). First female in the Wheelchair 15km was Emily Preketes (AUS/NSW).