SETTING GOALS: John Wickham will try for a personal best at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in July.
SETTING GOALS: John Wickham will try for a personal best at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in July.

Northern Rivers man aims to run in Boston Marathon

NORTHERN Rivers runner John Wickham aims to qualify for a spot in the 2017 Boston Marathon if he does well in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

The Alstonville resident, aged 59, has entered for the second time in the airport marathon.

At the event on July 2-3, he hopes to achieve a personal best time.

"I’ve done two marathons and two half marathons at Gold Coast in the past," John said.

"It’s been really good.

"It’s always extremely well organised and a great atmosphere with people coming from all over the world.

"It’s such an international event. You come across some well-known identities.

"I’m very new to the marathon distance thing.

"The Gold Coast is a good course because it’s pretty flat."

John took up running to be more active.

"I’m part of the Ballina Triathlon Club," he said.

"We might go out for a weekend run on occasions.

"I do most of my running training by myself.

"I’m always aiming to improve on my time.

"Something under four hours is normally considered a reasonable time."

His personal best in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon last year was 3hrs 38mins.

John has worked to improve his performance, with a couple of training sessions with Gold Coast triathlete Courtney Gilfillan.

"When I did my first marathon on the Gold Coast in 2014, leading up to that, I got in touch with professional coach Jake Brindle for some running tips," he said.

"He’s in America now but sets the program for me each week."

Running in the Boston Marathon is a dream for him.

"Boston is one of the best marathons because of its popularity," John said.

"You have to achieve a certain time to get in.

"I ran a marathon in Hobart this year and had a qualifying time."

The 38th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 2 and 3.

Its course runs next to the Gold Coast’s surf beaches and broadwater and has a reputation as one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world.

The event received an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label in 2014.

There’s a race tailor-made for everyone, with events including the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Suncorp Bank 5.7km Challenge and Zespri Junior Dash (4km & 2km).

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