Michael Shelley wins Marathon gold for Australia in Glasgow
MICHAEL Shelley, the pride of Southport, was already savouring the sweet taste of a breakthrough success - as the first non-African winner of the Commonwealth men's marathon title for 20 years - when the ninth-placed finisher was crossing the line "spewing my guts up", as Scotland's Derek Hawkins put it later.
It was the kind of thing that the 10th man home, the remarkable Steve Way, from Poole, used to do routinely on a Sunday morning after an extended Saturday night out on the Stella and cigarettes. Not that Shelley noticed the unseemly sight.
He was too busy celebrating his landmark victory in the green-and-gold vest of Australia. The 30-year-old happens to hail from Southport in Queensland, rather than the seaside resort on Merseyside that is home to Fran Halsall, a winner in the swimming pool for England at Tollcross on Saturday night. Shelley's hometown is right in the middle of the Gold Coast, where he will get the chance to defend his Commonwealth crown in 2018.
It was fitting that the last winner of the 26.2-mile event from outside Africa was on hand to embrace warmly the man with the Midas touch. "To have Monners here shouting for me around the course makes this mean even more to me," said Shelley, after pulling clear of Kenya's Stephen Chemlany two miles from the finish to win by 43 seconds in 2hr 11min 15sec, a lifetime best.
The man referred to as Monners is Steve Moneghetti, the Aussie marathon legend who won bronze in Edinburgh in 1986 and silver in Auckland in 1990 before striking gold in Victoria in 1994.
"I think the way Michael dominated the Africans was fantastic," said Moneghetti, who is Chef de Mission of the Australian team in Glasgow. "To run a personal best on a championship course takes some doing."
The plucky Hawkins was 11 seconds shy of his best but was first Briton, clocking 2:14:15. Next behind the Scot, in 10th place, was Way, who was a 17-and-a-half-stone, 40-inch-waist smoker before taking up running seven years ago.
The 42-year-old Dorset man finished in 2:15:16, a personal best and a British Over-40s record. "Best day ever," he said. "I do need to go and have a drink, though - and I'm not talking water. I'll be having a pint or two around Glasgow this evening."
The women's race produced a one-two for Kenya, Flomena Cheyech Daniel taking gold ahead of Caroline Kilel in 2:26:45, with Australian Jess Trengrove snatching bronze. Scotland's Susan Partridge won the battle of the Brits, finishing sixth in 2:32:18, one place ahead of England's Louise Damen.