Opinions · Australia

Here Are the Things Runners Say After Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2017

by On Aug 2, 2017

On 1-2 July 2017, a group of runners from Singapore participated in the 39th edition of Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM). We managed to talk to them and gather their feedback on the race.

GCAM 2017 Experience

Over 400 runners from Singapore participated in Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) this year. With its flat course, scenic views and great weather, GCAM is known as the perfect race to obtain a Personal Best (PB).

5 runners shared with us their remarkable race experiences at GCAM17.

Dr. Ashley Liew

Having run GCAM thrice previously, this year Ashley returned to GCAM with his father to spend quality father-son bonding time. Ashley ran a Full Marathon and achieved a Season Best timing of 2:37:34 in this race. His personal best is 2:32:12 in New Orleans Marathon 2015.

GCAM 2017 Experience - Ashley Liew

Dr. Ashley Liew

RS: Congrats on your SB, did you do anything special after the race?

Ashley: Thank you! After the race, my father and I enjoyed the sights and sounds along the lovely Surfers Paradise Beachfront and strolled through the night market there. No post-race celebration would be complete without food, so we joined my FlexiFitness teammate Shireena Woon (achieved her PB and qualified for Boston) for a lovely seafood dinner at the Marina Mirage on Main Beach.

GCAM 2017 Experience - Ashley Liew

Ashley with his dad

RS: You ran the GCAM before, why did you return again?

Ashley: The GCAM is very well organised, boasts a flat and fast course, has consistently cool weather, attracts good competition in the region, provides enthusiastic crowd support, and offers a family-friendly atmosphere. Moreover, the Gold Coast is much nearer to Singapore than other marathons, which makes it a top marathon destination for Singaporeans (hence the record participation numbers this year).

RS: I understand that you have participated in this year's GCAM with your father. What made you want to join the race together?

Ashley: I saw this GCAM as an opportunity for some fun father-son bonding while doing what we both love: running. My father is an inspirational figure having only picked up competitive running several years ago. However, he had not yet raced overseas. I felt the GCAM would be an eye-opening enjoyable experience for his maiden overseas race. It certainly did not disappoint!

Andrew Liew

Andrew Liew, the father of Ashley Liew, is a first-time runner of GCAM. While his son participated in the Full Marathon category, Andrew participated in Southern Cross University 10km Run. Andrew is satisfied with his finish time of 62 minutes.

GCAM 2017 Experience - Andrew Liew

Andrew Liew

RS: How was your experience running the 10km in GCAM for the first time? What do you think of the race organisation, course, spectator?

Andrew: My first international run can be summed up in just one word: SUPERLATIVE! With temperatures hovering between 10 to 21 degrees C and light humidity, the weather was a significant improvement over our own muggy high humidity conditions. But the "wow" factor must surely be the legendary crowd support which at times felt that the entire Gold Coast was cheering me on. This contrasts markedly with the largely docile and passive on-lookers back home.

We can learn a lot from GCAM 17: free tram and bus rides for all race participants (just wear your bib), the large number of seniors running - and performing well - in all race categories, the recognition of ALL race participants through the publication of results in the local paper.

In all, an immersive international yet distinctively Aussie experience!


GCAM 2017 Experience - Andrew Liew

Andrew Liew and his son


RS: Is this your first time participating in a race with your son? How is the experience of prepping for a race together?

Andrew: This is the first time that Ashley and I have gone abroad together to race and it provided an excellent opportunity to bond and have fun. I am, of course, not as disciplined a runner as he is, and best be described as a "social" runner with Golf occupying as much time (actually a lot more!) as my other recreational activity.

While I came in third in the SCMS 2016 10km (first Singaporean) for my age group, I am satisfied with my performance at the GCAM17 as my first international.

RS: Will you be returning to run GCAM18?

Andrew: Will I race in the GCAM18? You can bet your PB on it!

Alice Ong (Team FatBird)

Alice Ong ran the first full marathon of her life at GCAM17 and achieved an exceptional result of 4:05. After the race, she didn’t pass up the chance to enjoy exciting activities in Queensland.

GCAM 2017 Race Experience - Alice Ong (FatBird)

Alice Ong

RS: How was your experience running GCAM17?

Alice: The weather was very cool. The crowd support from the locals was awesome. The fruits (kiwis, oranges and bananas) and beverages (mineral water and isotonic drinks) supplied at the finishing line was abundant.

RS: What is different about this race compared to Singapore or other overseas races that you have done?

Alice: There were places along the route where we ran past those residential houses. The locals were very supportive of this race. They called out my name and cheered for me. I found it very encouraging and motivating that someone who doesn't know me, makes the effort to see my name from the bib.

GCAM 2017 Race Experience - Alice Ong (FatBird)

Alice Ong's activities in Queensland

RS: What did you do post-race to celebrate?

Alice: I went for Skydiving the next day. I also went to Lone Pine with friends in Brisbane to see the koalas.

RS: Cool! Will you be returning to run GCAM18?

Alice: High chance!

RS: Will you be recommending GCAM to other friends?

Alice: Yes, I will recommend this race to my friends.

Alan Chang (F1 Runners)

Alan Chang had an awesome experience running his first GCAM race. He achieved a PB of 3:05:46, more than 10 minutes improvement from his previous PB. In Alan’s case, running speed improves with age. After 23 years of running, he is looking forward to running a sub-3-hour marathon.

GCAM 2017 Experience - F1 Runners

F1 Runners

RS: How was your experience running GCAM17?

Alan: The experience was just awesome. Having 3:00 pacer in front of me and 3:10 pacer behind me was the key for me to achieve my PB of 3:05. Having my coach, Lexxus, encouraging me for a 3:06 timing help me to "GO FOR IT!" fearlessly. Thank God, I did it. I was chasing the 3:00 pacer and hoping the 3:10 pacer would not catch me. It was fun and joyfully painful after 32km.

The weather was great, though the sun was strong after 8 a.m., the temperature was low enough. With the sunglass and visor, I could not really feel the heat. It really felt good to have a flat course and so many 3:00 runners around you all the way to the finish point.

RS: What is different about this race compared to Singapore or other overseas races that you have done?

Alan: The race organisation of GCAM was excellent. They don’t combine Full Marathon (FM) with any other races, like the 21km or 10km. The focus is just on the experience of FM runners. I love that. GCAM deserves its IAAF Gold Label award.

The GCAM’s water and isotonic support were amazing too, it was never crowded all the way to the end. I love the availability of mineral water bottles at some stations. It was very good because it helped me to hydrate a lot better on the run. Keep that bottled drinks coming!

In my personal opinion, I think the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) is nowhere close to the value and quality of GCAM. In the FM category of SCSM, the route along the final 3-5kms are congested with the crowd from FM, HM and 10km participants. It is hard for FM runners, even those who run with 3:00 - 3:30 timing, to run; they had to zigzag to get around. Runners also have difficulty to get to the water/isotonic stations in the final few kilometres due to the congestion. I would give the race 3 thumbs down.

RS: What did you do post-race to celebrate?

Alan: At GCAM, the open space where runners gathered after the race was great, it was just fantastic. I love the free kiwis, they tasted so delicious and refreshing. There were this happy atmosphere and very nice feeling after the race. We had good rest and post-race seafood dinner party for 60 of us, organised by Coach Lexxus and CTC. It was just great talking about the run of the day.

RS: Will you be returning to run GCAM18? What are your new goals if you were to return in 2018?

Alan: Yes, of course, I will. If I go back, my goal is 3:00 hrs. However, I am not young anymore at 55 of age. Actually, this 3:05 gave me a breakthrough feeling. After 23 years of running, I feel that a sub-3-hour FM is still possible with my age, and I am determined to train even harder with coach Lexxus Tan. There are several sub-3-hour FM runners in F1 Running Team. Coach LEXXUS Tan himself is an encouraging sub-3-hour FM master runner.

RS: Will you be recommending GCAM to other friends?

Alan: Yes, I will recommend GCAM as an awesome place to run an FM PB. Overall, GCAM gave me a 4.5-star FM running experience. Thank you so much. GCAM, you did a great job.

Yvonne Germaine Lim (F1 Runners)

Running her maiden GCAM race, Yvonne accomplished an outstanding result and qualified for Boston Marathon. She finished the race with a PB of 3:33:31.

GCAM 2017 Experience - Yvonne Lim (F1 Runners)

Yvonne Lim

RS: How was your experience running GCAM17?

Yvonne: This is my 2nd cold weather marathon. The first one was at Blackmores Sydney Marathon in 2016. We were very lucky as the weather was really favourable that day being the coldest compared to the rest of days we were there. It started at about 12 degrees Celcius and rose to about 17 degrees Celcius at the end. Hydration was plentiful along the route and at some stations, gels and bananas were provided. I really enjoyed the kiwis, oranges and bananas at the end of the race.

RS: What is different about this race compared to SG or other overseas races that you have done?

Yvonne: This is a fast course with very minimal slopes and what I really like is that there are hardly any turns on this route. It's basically a straight route all the way with one turn at about 16km and another turn at about 37km mark. The cheers and support line-up along the streets, homes and cafes made the run less boring, with little children giving high fives and others calling out runners' names to cheer them on.

RS: What did you do post-race to celebrate?

Yvonne: We had a sumptuous seafood buffet dinner after the marathon which was organised by the tour agent we travelled with. The best part about running a marathon is you can eat anything after that without feeling any guilt!

The following day we went to the Springbrook National Park. The views there were awesome! I extended my stay by 2 days. During the extension, we went on a hot air balloon ride (the sunrise view was breathtaking), whale watching (we were very lucky to have 2 curious whales following our boat and doing tail flips and all), parasailing and jet skiing (you cannot get parasailing in Singapore and it was pretty cool! Jet skiing was fun too as it was relatively easy to manoeuvre though it was my first time).

RS: Will you be returning to run GCAM18? What are your new goals if you were to return in 2018?

Yvonne: I qualified for Boston marathon this time at GCAM2017. Yay!! The Boston Marathon will be held in April 2018; hence, I won't be doing GCAM18 as it's too close. My goal is to go below 3hr 30min if I were to do GCAM again.

RS: Will you be recommending GCAM to other friends?

Yvonne: Yes, of course. It's a fast course and chances of getting a PB is almost definite if nothing goes wrong during the run.

The dates for Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2018 has been confirmed! It will be on 30 June and 1 July 2018. Come celebrate the 40th edition of GCAM and set another PB.

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Eva is a casual runner who has been hooked on marathons since her first race in 2011. She’s content to spend her weekends only on running. She is also a hiking enthusiast and traveling addict. When she’s not doing outdoor activities, she indulges in reading.

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