Goddard & Ponton Claim Half Marathon Titles
Ed Goddard and Marnie Ponton have claimed the men’s and women’s titles at the HOKA Runaway Sydney Half Marathon, with both athletes impressing on their way to victory.
Goddard crossed the line after 21.1km in 1:05:21, finishing just over 20 seconds clear of Ben St Lawrence, with James Nipperess rounding out the podium.
Goddard went into the event as favourite with the 25-year-old justifying the pre-race hype, leading from start to finish.
“I’m feeling super good, it was a great day out there, I loved every second of it,” said Goddard. “It was a tough course but there was a lot of support on the course which was fun and a lot of familiar faces which I really enjoyed.”
The top three were together for the early stages of the race before Goddard put his local knowledge to good use, pushing ahead to take the win.
“Ben is a super strong runner, he came along for quite a bit of the way, I wasn’t planning on having to put in a big surge, but I sort of did just to drop him because I wanted to drop him before the last stages because I know how quick he is over the finishing stuff,” said Goddard. “It’s awesome, being from Sydney and running these streets every day, I wanted to make sure I won this and it’s fun to run on the road and just run as fast as I can around Sydney, I enjoyed it a lot.”
Marnie Ponton took the win in the women’s race in 1:14:30, almost two minutes clear of Ireland’s Niamh Allen with Tara Prowse third.
“That was incredible, it’s an awesome course, I ran hard and enjoyed it,” said Ponton. “I thought Niamh would go out pretty hard, so I was just trying to set a good pace to start and then I was lucky enough to have a few guys to hook in with and I got into my rhythm and ran.”
Ponton, from the Blue Mountains, enjoyed the support from the crowd and fellow runners as she made her way around the Sydney waterfront.
“The support on course was awesome, the crowds were yelling which was fab, it was an awesome atmosphere,” she said. “A win likes this means a lot, it’s a reward for all the training you do, it was awesome.”
Over 13,000 runners took part in Sunday’s event, with the day kicking off with the 10km race, the first time the shorter distance has been on the program.
Lachlan Stanfield took out the men’s race, with Claire Haigh the first female over the line.
The women’s race was a hard-fought affair, with Haigh finishing in 38:11, just a second ahead of Laura Amira Kassem, with Cicely Brown third. Haigh pushed ahead early, but Amira Kassem was hot on her heels all race, chasing hard until the pair crossed the finish line.
Haigh’s win was all the more impressive given Sunday’s event was the first time she’s ever lined up on the start line of a race.
“It was great, it was nice and cool and there was a good group of girls out there, it was good to have people to push you,” said Haigh. “I was leading from the start but from about five kilometres to go I could hear Laura coming so I was just running away from her for the last half, I was running scared towards the end.
“I’ve never run a race before so first win, it’s exciting and I had some teammates out there running as well which was pretty cool,” she said. I’ve been running for a couple of years now and just slowly progressing.”
Lachlan Stanfield won in 32:17, less than 20 seconds ahead of Jack Hillier, with Dylan Offord third.
“I’m feeling really good, I didn’t expect the win today, the course was good, the atmosphere was good, it was a good win,” said Stanfield. “The first two kilometres was pretty much downhill so I was just trying to go as fast as I could, the rest of the course is mainly uphill, there was a hill with about a kilometre to go where I took second place and just took off and that was the race.”
Sunday’s HOKA Runaway Sydney Half Marathon was the 30th edition of the event, with it first being held back in 1992.
The HOKA Runaway Sydney Half Marathon joins three incredible destination running events across Australia and New Zealand as part of the Runaway Marathon Series. The Runaway Marathon Series takes runners to Queenstown and Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand and Noosa in Queensland, all destinations where natural beauty, world class running, local hospitality and food and wine options make for so much more than just another running event.