Surprise European win in Australia
Austrian Gunther Weidlinger won the second annual Great Australian Run 15 km in Melbourne today in what organizers described as „miserable“ weather conditions. Writes Race Results Weekly. Weidlinger, who already owns over half a dozen Austrian national records, upset Olympic Marathon champion and half-marathon world record holder, Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya. Weidlinger‘s time of 43:01 handily surpassed his own national record set at the same event last year.
The versatile Australian Collis Birmingham finished a strong second (43:19), while his countryman Martin Dent was third (44:00). Wanjiru, who arrived late to Australia and felt jet-lagged, finished fourth (44:20), Spain´s Chema Martinez 8th (44:58) and 2004 Olympic winner Stefano Baldini finished 11th (45:42). „Today was not my day,“ Wanjiru said. Nikki Chapple, who one week ago ran a quick 15:27 for her 5 km leg at the Chiba Ekiden, dominated the women‘s race in 50:18, nearly a minute up on Benita Willis (51:15).
British steeplechaser Helen Clitheroe finished third in 51:17 and former track olympic winner Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal fourth in 51:41. About 3000 runners took part in the race and Birmingham and Chapple were also crowned Australian National Champions at 15 km.