AN Ipswich athlete on a track and field scholarship at Florida State University is contesting this weekend’s Townsville Running Festival in what is tipped to be the best half marathon in the event’s history.
Glen Yarham, 22, suffered a small hip ligament injury a couple of months ago while in Florida.
The Ipswich and District Athletic Club runner has slowly been building up to his original form, winning last weekend’s Ipswich Park2Park half marathon.
“It’s a niggling injury so is still there,” Yarham said.
“But I’ve been on a few long runs since I got back to Australia and ran a half marathon last weekend, so shouldn’t do too badly in Townsville.
“The conditions in Townsville on Sunday will actually be similar to the weather in Orlando in December this year when I’ll run in the qualifiers for the World University Games.
“They’re a global event on the tier just below the Commonwealth Games, which any registered university student around the world can apply for.”
Yarham (pictured) said he only became passionate about running in year 12 when his high school’s head co-ordinator for sport took him under his wing.
“When I graduated he introduced me to the head coach of Athletics Australia. I was overwhelmed with the transition,” he said.
Tomorrow’s half marathon in Townsville has attracted previous winners keen to defend their titles.
Yarham said he hoped to complete the course in 68 minutes, well inside the returning victor Darren Peacock’s 2013 time of 74 minutes.
“I’m always looking for a win when I run, but at the same time I’m not going to push it too far,” Yarham said.
“It all comes down to race day.”
The Townsville Half Marathon is one of the richest in the country, with $1500 awarded to the first across the line, and up to $2200 awarded if a course record is broken.
Townsville Road Runners president Tony Gordon expects tomorrow’s competition to be top class.
“The winner of last weekend’s M7 Marathon in Sydney, last year’s Townsville Marathon winner, and other previous podium finishers will go up against fast newcomers to the 42km track,” Gordon said.
“Glen will be up against a horde of racers nipping on his heels in the half marathon.
“This will be the best running festival in North Queensland’s history.”