Stenson in history-making marathon gold

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John Salvado / AAP News

It is third time the charm for the running mum, capturing the elusive gold medal following bronze at the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

 

Jessica Stenson has created Commonwealth marathon history as Australia made a flying start to the athletics program in Birmingham.

Stenson, who returned to the sport after the birth of her first child in 2019, dropped off all her challengers one by one on the way to a famous victory on Saturday.

The 34-year-old crossed the line beaming with joy in a time of two hours 27 minutes 31 seconds.

It made her the first female marathoner to win three Commonwealth medals, following on from bronzes in 2014 and 2018.

Countrywomen Eloise Wellings and Sinead Diver hung tough to finish fourth and fifth respectively, with the minor medals going to Kenyan Margaret Muriuki and defending champ Helalia Johannes from Namibia.

Australian women have now won six of the 10 Commonwealth marathons, with Stenson’s triumph the first since the late Kerryn McCann secured the second of her two successive golds in 2006.

Earlier on Saturday, wheelchair racing star Madison de Rozario triumphed in the women’s T53/54 race, adding to her glittering array of golds.

 

De Rozario wins Commonwealth Games marathon

The Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist has defended her marathon title in Birmingham.

De Rozario clocked a winning time of 1:56:00 and is favoured to complete the T53/54 marathon/1500m double for a second straight Commonwealth Games.

Eden Rainbow-Cooper took silver and fellow Englishwoman Shelly Oxley-Woods was third ahead of Australian Christie Dawes, but there was no bronze medal awarded as there were only four starters in the women’s race.

De Rozario, 28, won the marathon and the 800m at last year’s Tokyo Paralympics and has also claimed three world para-athletics championships titles.

“You try so hard to not let previous successes or previous failures colour what you’re about to do and that can be really, really challenging,” she said.

“Sometimes the confidence is too much and you kind of get ahead of yourself and sometimes it’s too much in the way that it’s debilitating pressure instead, and so we try and step away from all of tha t.

“But it’s definitely a little motivator, when you know what it feels like to be on top of that podium, you obviously want it that little bit more.”

 

In the able-bodied men’s race, Liam Adams was unlucky not to be rewarded with a podium place after a brave display of front-running.

The electrician from Melbourne led for the first 25 kilometres before eventually crossing in fourth spot in 2:13:23.

Victor Kiplangat won Uganda’s first Commonwealth marathon title in 2:10:55 ahead of Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu and Kenyan Michael Githae, with Australia’s Andrew Buchanan seventh in 2:15:40.

Johnboy Smith won the men’s T53/54 marathon title in 1:41:15 after fellow Englishman David Weir’s gold-medal bid was scuppered by a mid-race puncture while he was leading.

Australian Jake Lappin was fifth in 1:56:21.

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