THE WINNER: Rob Matthews from Hamilton Island crossing the line in first place in the fifth Westpac Hilly Half Marathon on May 1.
THE WINNER: Rob Matthews from Hamilton Island crossing the line in first place in the fifth Westpac Hilly Half Marathon on May 1.

Hamilton Island pilot won marathon

HAMILTON Island helicopter pilot Rob Matthews secured a home town win in the fifth Westpac Hilly Half Marathon on Hamilton Island on Sunday, May 1.

Matthews beat defending champion Mark McFadzen from Mackay who set the early pace and led the field from the opening five kilometre resort section and onto the trails.

Matthews made a decisive move early in the race during the bush section by using his knowledge of the trails on the hills to establish a break at the front.

This in the end enabled Matthews to coast home nearly three minutes clear and set a record run of one hour 55 minutes and 39 seconds.

Event organiser Steve Jackson said the event was very competitive as there were a few lead changes up front.

"It’s not a race for time," he said.

"It’s more a test against the course."

A total of 68 competitors competed in the event from as close as Mackay and Brisbane and as far away as Sydney and even Norway.

Norwegian backpacker Magnus Larsen rounded out the podium wins in the men’s division who saw the event advertised whilst travelling through Airlie Beach and added the race to his itinerary.

Catherine Cartmill of Brisbane finished in first place in the women’s division, while Hamilton Island’s Michaella Trigg and Mackay’s Janelle Tilse came second and third.

In the teams division, honeymoon couple Sarah and Tom Best teamed with Steve Stringer to win the title by just fifty-nine seconds.

There was even a revamped kid’s race with choices of 750 metre, one-and-a-half kilometre and three kilometre distances.

These events were embraced by thirty plus youngsters who took part while their enthusiastic families cheered them on.


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