PHOTO GALLERY: Action from Yeppoon Running Festival
RUNNING: Rhys Williams clocked a PB to win the men’s half-marathon at Sunday’s Yeppoon Running Festival.
The 30-year-old crossed the finish line in 1:15:44, just under three minutes ahead of fellow Rockhampton runner Justin McSherry.
Paddington’s Hannah Terry won the female half marathon in 1:38:26 from Yeppoon duo Michelle Broadfoot and Amanda Milfull.
More than 550 runners took part in the annual festival, which is now in its third year.
They competed in the half marathon, the 10km and 5km and the 1.6km family fun run.
Race director Rob Dendle said the festival was a great success once again.
“Everything went really well. All the feedback has been really positive which, as race organisers, is all you can ask for,” he said.
“We had just over 550 competitors, which is 50 up on last year so we’re heading in the right direction.
“The biggest field was the 5km which had about 180 runners but the half marathon had about 125 which is nearly 30 up on last year.”
Williams has a proud history at the running festival, winning the half marathon in the inaugural event in 2017 and placing second last year.
He said he put together one of the best runs of his career on Sunday.
“I was extremely happy. I took 25 seconds off my previous best time,” he said.
“The gun went off and I felt good. I took off and kept feeling good and kept feeling good and kept feeling good.
“The first two or three kilometres I pushed pretty hard and then settled back down into my usual race pace.
“I was able to hold it a bit quicker so was able to make up a bit of time along the course.”
Williams said he never at any stage assumed he had the race won.
“You never know what’s going to happen; the race isn’t over until you hit the finish line.
“I could see with each turnaround that the gap between me and second place was getting a little bigger but you can’t give up until you cross the line.
“The conditions were not too bad. By the last lap it started heating up a bit but I had done enough of the hard work early that I could settle into the run and just keep pounding along.”
Williams said he had enjoyed a good preparation after taking some time off for an injury he suffered in the Gold Coast Marathon in July.
“I was able to get back into training and put enough in to get myself into pretty good condition,” he said.
“I don’t really run for the rewards but being able to say that you did have a win is pretty good.
“Any time you would away with a PB you’ve got to be happy.”
Williams’ next event will be next month’s Hervey Bay 100, where he will do the run leg of the team triathlon.
He will then turn his attention to the marathon at the BayBreak Multisport Festival in March.