Thousands of athletes from across the country and the world will converge on the Gold Coast this weekend for one of the city’s most iconic events and among them are hoards of inspirational stories.
myGC has been chatting to a few of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) competitors who all believe everyone is a champion, no matter the distance.
Oxenford local Peter McKenzie is proof, age is no barrier. At the age of 66, Peter is taking on his 30th GCAM on Sunday, having first completed the endurance race in 1986.
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“I actually feel really good for about two weeks after a marathon,” Peter explains.
“You just have the unbelievable feeling of wellbeing. I just want to keep running,” he adds.
And, despite being at retirement age, Peter insists he’s not hanging up the boots or even considering shifting gears to a shorter distance.
“Generally by Tuesday, my body has forgotten it’s run a marathon. My body actually feels great when I get running.”
Another athlete proving it’s never too late to start is Biggera Waters Buyer’s Agent Geoff Tomkins.
The 52-year-old only started running ten years ago and this year is taking on the mammoth challenge of completing all of the senior events.
Geoff will run both the 10km and 5.7km events with other competitors on Saturday morning, before embarking on the half marathon solo in the afternoon.
“I have entered the half marathon, but can’t do it as well as the marathon on the Sunday,” Geoff explains.
“I’ll have someone there recording the time and distance.
“I’m not sure how the body’s going to hold up after all the events. So I’m just really going to play it by ear and not go out to break any record times.”
Geoff will be running for Gold Coast homeless charity Rosies Friends on the Street. You can donate to Geoff’s cause here.
Former Wheelchair 15km winner Sara Tait is pushing herself to the limit this year by taking on the longer 42km distance.
Sara, who was born with Spina Bifida, won the half marathon as a 12-year-old and has since gone on to win the 15km race three times.
The now 18-year-old has had to adapt her training to prepare for the marathon, where she’ll take on Paralympic hopefull Christie Dawes.
“I’ve been going for longer pushes to make sure that I can go the distance and then adding speed,” Sara says.
“I’ve found that as soon as you get to 30km everything goes downhill. So I’ve made sure to do a lot of 30-kay pushes so I’m prepared for what’s to come.”
Gold Coasters are encouraged to line the streets this weekend to cheer on all the athletes taking part and help them push through their mental and phsyical pain to reach the finish line.
It’s not too late to register, go to the GCAM website for details.