Marathon women run on strong in Rio
15 August 2016
ATHLETICS: Australian marathon runners Milly Clark, Jess Trengove and Lisa Weightman have produced strong runs in the women’s marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In tough, warm conditions around the flat picturesque course, that started and finished in the famous Sambodromo carnival venue, the Australians started conservatively and worked their way through the field.
The speed early was under Olympic record pace but the Australians ran their own race in the large field of 141 competitors from 80 nations.
Clark, in only her second serious marathon, finished 18th in a time of two hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds. For the Sydney 27-year-old, this was the fifth best placing by an Australian woman at the Games.
Trengove was also so strong in 22nd place, completed the course in 2:31.44.
Weightman, in her third Olympic marathon, was 22nd at the 25km mark and moving through the field but in the closing stags the legs wouldn’t go how she wanted and she dropped back to 31st in a time of 2:34.41.
Clark was processing what she had achieved in the popular and challenging event.
“First Olympics, top 20, it hasn’t really sunk in,” Clark said.
“I think it will when I see my family and my coach and everyone else.
“Before I came over I did set a goal. I usually make my gold, silver and bronze goal. And the gold goal was to come top 20 and that was going to be the most amazing thing, and silver would be top 25.
“I’m absolutely exhausted but at the same time I’m so proud of not just myself but the other girls.
“We all running together for that whole race and it was awesome, I really enjoyed the whole thing.”
Trengove was 58th after the first five kilometres and with the other Australians. She got into her rhythm and moved from 31st to 21st between 20km and 25km and then held that position throughout.
“I could have just stuck to my pace and instead I pushed on and tried to breakaway. I really feel like I gave myself every chance to put myself up in the mix,” said Trengove, who was third at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“I would have loved to have run a PB. I was a bit surprised at the halfway mark, it was a bit slower than I thought it would be.
“It didn’t feel as hot out there as I was expecting. It was probably more so, it’s been a bit of a challenging lead-up and that was the pace I could manage today. Mentally I really toughed it out.
“It was a big improvement on my 39th in London and I will just keep looking to raise the bar.
“Milly was just phenomenal, I’m really proud of her.”
All three Aussies enjoyed working together in the lead-up and during the race.
“They’ve just been fantastic company this trip and I really feel like we worked together out there,” Trengove said.
Weightman, who was 16th in London, was disappointed with how she finished.
“I came her in career best shape but it just wasn’t my day. When I went to push my legs just didn’t want to go.”
The gold medal was won by Kenyan Jemima Sumgong in 2:24.04 - remarkably the first marathon gold for a Kenyan woman.
Eunice Kirwa from Bahrain took the silver in 2:2413 and 2015 world Champion Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia (2:24.30) took the bronze.