Local running pride help reborn Toowoomba Marathon presented by Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport to fly high

The rebooted Toowoomba Marathon presented by Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport saw almost 2000 participants tackle the full distance headliner, ASICS Half Marathon, Vanderbilt Private Equity 10km, Toowoomba Chronicle 2km Junior Dash and Visit Toowoomba Region 5km on Sunday.

And the superb running conditions delivered some great times, some great family stories and more than a pinch of local running pride.


Case in point was the Toowoomba full distance marathon which saw Highfield’s Jamie Lacey make the streets he knows so well his own with an all-the-way-win.

He crossed the line in 2:41:07, well ahead of popular Toowoomba Roadrunner Sean Needham (3:05:11) and local ultra long distance specialist Ben MacCronan (3:06:26)

“I just wanted to jump out from the start and see what happened,” Jamie said of his simple and hastily concocted race strategy.

“To be honest I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew I just had to be realistic about the course.

“That realisation came with a hill at about the five or six kilometre mark which was pretty hard on the legs at that early part of the race, but once I got over that I knew I’d be right,” he said.

Lacey had extra incentive to get out early and get home fast.

“It’s my son Jackson’s first birthday party this afternoon and I didn’t want to be late,” he laughed after plucking the birthday boy from the large finish chute crowd and carrying him over the line on his shoulders.

Second placed Sean was pleased with his run but said he was pleasantly surprised at his podium finish.

“I didn’t know what to expect, where I’d finish, when I woke up this morning.

“I thought top 10 might be a chance, so second place on my home streets is absolutely fantastic,” he said.

MacCronan said he was happy with his third placing as preparation for a major longer distance outing coming up in South Africa.

“I head to the famous Conmrades 85.9km race in Durban in South Africa in early June and today has been a great preparation for the hillier aspects of that race,” he said.

And in an 11th hour boost to the women’s event 2023 New York Marathon place-getter Kathryn Parkinson was a late entry into the event.

But if there was any hint of under preparation, she quickly dispelled it with another all-the-way win, stopping the clock just shy of three hours in 2:59:27, well ahead of Roxanne Mutschler (3:29:35) and elated Toowoomba Road Runner Selena Dwyer (3:38:13).
“It was a tough course, there was a few times when I didn’t think I’d make the finish line- it was hard, very hard,” Kathryn said almost to deny the dominance of her 30 minute win.

“The atmosphere was lovely, runners cheering each other on and the Toowoomba community was fantastic, they really looked after you.

“In fact, I didn’t really want to finish because they were all cheering me on.
“I knew it was going to be hilly, so it was a matter of taking it steady going up those hills in the first lap and knowing what’s coming in the second lap.

“I was just trying to hang in and keep up a good pace and it was hard to get a good groove when you’re either going up or down,” she said.

Away from the track, Kathryn holds a full time partner role at Price Waterhouse Cooper and is mum to three young children.
“The children are very patient with me and it’s a bit of a challenge, but I train normally early mornings and I never have my running shoes very far away from me and always put them on and get out whenever I can,” she said throwing forward to her next challenge, July’s ASICS Gold Coast Marathon.
Second placed Roxanne said she pulled up understandably sore.

“Ï grew up in Toowoomba but I haven’t been back running here for 10 years and this is my first marathon ever.

“I knew roughly where I was going, but at about the 30-kilometre mark I thought to myself that there was still a long way to go,” she said.
Third placed Selena, a Toowoomba Road Runner, said she loves running the Toowoomba streets with her “beautiful running family”.

“The course was so hilly and challenging, which I expected it would be under race conditions, but I ran my second half quicker and I think all the help I got out on the streets might have helped with that,” she said.


Thirty-seven-year-old Brisbane-based speedster Aidan Hobbs reckons age and a solid preparation on hilly roads and cross-country courses around his Brisbane base were the secret sauces to his commanding win in the ASICS Half Marathon in 1:09:24.
For the amiable Aidan it was an all the way seven-minute victory over Dean Edmonds (1:16:28) and Thomas Anderson (1:18:03).

“The best way to get fit is to run the hills and this has been the perfect preparation for the Gold Coast Marathon full distance event in July,” Aidan said.

“All my sessions leading up to this today have been solid and with running being all about consistency, I just need to string a couple more races like this together and I’ll be in good shape.

“But today was special – if you want to run fast, run on hills like all the great champions like [Olympians] Steve Moneghetti and Rob de Castella and Lee Troop did.
“Those blokes just chewed the hills up, so Toowoomba is perfect for anyone wanting to get their strength and conditioning up to a really competitive level,” he said.

And that sort of local knowledge came to the fore in the women’s 21km race with Toowoomba Road Runner and mum of four Melanie Magarey (1:28:37) putting daylight between herself and plucky chasers Claire Denkes (1:33:41) and Melissa Winslade (1:35:54).

“It was really technical all the way, but it was a beautiful run.”
“Even though I run these streets all the time, [under race conditions today] I was challenged from the start, but it was great having the pace runners out there to keep in my sights and push me up a couple of the hills,” she said.

And it was a true and highly successful Magarey family outing today with her husband Phil and daughters Layla and Harper competing in the 5km and their two younger children Judah and Ava running in the 2km race – Judah winning his race and Layla taking second in hers.


The men’s and women’s 10km spoils went to two athletes who have travelled the world to chase their running dreams.

Not long-ago Ben Drew became USA Portland State’s first athlete from Toowoomba to compete in the NCAA, first living in Houston before moving to Oregon to specialise in steeplechase.

Today he commanded the Vanderbilt Private Equity 10km Run with victory in a slick 33:12 over challengers Connor Whittet (34:03) and Ryan Hickey who took third in 35:34.

“I was worried at the start and thinking about the hills, but it all went really well,” Ben said.

“Probably the only moment I second guessed myself was that last hill, but once it was out of the way, I had a clean run to the finish.”

Whittet colourfully said his Toowoomba experience was “a bunch of fun.”

“Especially the last 2ks when it’s downhill and all the hard work’s done by then,” he said.

“Today was definitely a bit hotter than I expected; it’s nice not being super-hot, but the humidity is a little bit tough.”

Thirty-four-year-old Tamara Carvolth came into the women’s 10km race after having won fun runs in her southeast Queensland back yard and achieving plenty away over the years.

And after competing in three consecutive IAAF World Cross Country Championships, the hilly Toowoomba course didn’t bother her in the slightest as she took the 10km women’s crown in 38:15 over Georgia Sloss (42:07) and Caitlyn Garratt (44:06).

“If you have any weaknesses in your running, they’ll show up here,” Tamara said.

“I didn’t know what to expect with the course and I knew it’d be hilly, and it was probably the toughest hill course I’ve ever run, but it’s stunning layout and the conditions today were awesome.

“That last hill really pushes you but the last two kilometres you can just send it home and get the most out of your legs.
“I’d say to anyone they should use this event as a build-up to anything, if only for the strength it puts in your legs, under proper race conditions.

“And thanks to all the people sitting outside their homes cheering runners on – to get up on a Sunday morning for us was really special,” she said.
Second placed Sloss said she had a premonition of what lay ahead.

“It was quite hard and hilly, but I knew what the hills here were like so I started pretty easy because I knew what was ahead of me,” she said.

And in a touch of sporting celebrity, Athens Olympic Games cycling road race gold medallist Sara Carrigan lined up the race and seemed to take everything in.

“It’s very scenic out there, I did have a little time to enjoy the views… it was gorgeous.
“Having only ever run on the Gold Coast, it was great to have the extra challenge and it has that country atmosphere and you can tell people are happy to have the event back here.”


Visit Toowoomba Region 5km male winner Timothy Hogno stopped the clock at 16:22, a slim seven seconds ahead of Issak Brew (16:29) and Cedar Johnson (16:30) while Brielle Erbacher 17:44 took the female honours ahead of Layla Magarey (21:04) and Claire Ramsbotham (21:10).
Timothy said he enjoyed the course variation.

“It was good; the course is a nice one and it’s got some different elements to it which is good preparation for the rest of the season,” he said.
The crowds were awesome and having people cheering makes it so much better.”

And he said it was good to win a race literally on his doorstep.

“We train on hills, and I live close to the start line, so a lot of my training runs are on the course so I knew what to expect; I knew when to go, when to keep it steady.

“My next race is the Queensland Athletics All Schools short course cross country, but I’ll be back here next year, 100 per cent…I wouldn’t miss it!”

Local runner, Brielle Erbacher said the course was challenging but has it’s scenic benefits.

“It was pretty bloody hilly, but it’s a pretty good course; you get to see most of Toowoomba, or the hilly parts at least.

“We trained on this course a couple of times and living in Toowoomba you know it’s hilly.

“The crowds on the course were amazing.

“I spent the whole time smiling, the amount of people cheering your name up the hill, down the hill and round the corner, you never really got a chance to look like you weren’t ready to smile,” she said.



Toowoomba Chronicle 2km boys and girls Junior Dashes were taken out by a couple of young Toowoomba Road Runners, capping a day of success for the local running fraternity and demonstrating the depth of talent in the local area.

Boy’s winner Judah Magarey, the son of ASICS Half Marathon winner Melanie Magarey and brother of 5km second placegetter Layla Magarey, said he doesn’t usually run road, preferring track and cross country.

“But I really enjoyed it out there today with everyone cheering me on, it was a lot of fun,” he said.

Girl’s winner Eden Broksch (8:20) said she doesn’t get out road running too often but enjoyed being out the front of the pack today.

“I didn’t know how I’d go because I didn’t know if the race would attract kids from the Gold Coast and she said.

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport General Manager Kellie Banditt said she was pleasantly surprised by many aspects of the event.

“The weather was amazing and the turnout shocked me with its diversity of runners, from small families to larger families, the elderly – all the athletes were so inspiring.

“It is such a positive environment to be around.
“What I’ve heard from participants is that it is a wonderful course, it’s picturesque and beautifully cool – the hills maybe not so friendly but they’ve said they are very excited and they’ll 100 per cent be back next year for the 2025 Toowoomba Marathon presented by Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.”

“Next year for us it will be bigger, and we’re excited to partner with the stakeholders out here and we’re very happy to be part of this event,” she said.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Geoff McDonald loved the day.

“The Visit Toowoomba Region 5km was absolutely amazing and a lot of people along the route got to see each other a couple of times which was great.

“It’s been a fantastic day, it’s one of those things when you picture what it looks like and it comes together and that’s because of all the planning from Events Management Queensland, the support from Toowoomba Road Runners and Run Toowoomba Run and everyone who volunteered.

“It really does showcase our community and how we all come together to help organisations to put events on.

“It’s amazing, close to 2000 participants, that’s a big effort and well over what was anticipated and it was all topped off with a beautiful day.”