Commonwealth Games: Michael Shelley takes marathon gold in Glasgow
Last Updated: 27/07/14 1:58pm
Michael Shelley celebrates his marathon success
Australia's Michael Shelley took the first athletics gold of the Commonwealth Games in the men's marathon.
Shortly afterwards, Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech won the women’s marathon, ahead of compatriot Caroline Kilel. Australia’s Jess Trengove won the bronze.
Thousands of spectators ignored wet conditions in Glasgow to cheer on the athletes along the 26.2-mile course, which took in the city's squares, parks and bridges across the River Clyde.
The event started and finished at Glasgow Green, the oldest public park in Scotland, where Shelley crossed the line to win the men's race in a personal-best time.
It had looked for a while like Kenya's John Ekiru Kelai could become just the second man to retain the Commonwealth crown, yet he fell away as the lead switched hands and Shelley came through.
Showing impressive energy reserves, the 30-year-old stormed into the lead and crossed the line in two hours, 11 minutes and 15 seconds - 43secs quicker than silver medallist Stephen Chemlany of Kenya and 1min 8secs ahead of Uganda's Abraham Kiplimo.
"It is starting to sink in now," Shelley said. "I dug deep and I was hoping I wouldn't blow-up like I have done in the past.
"It was still head down [despite building a 100-metre lead], don't think about it too much because anything could happen.
"I was a bit like 'urgh, keep going, keep going, keep digging, keep digging'. I kept focused to finish off as strong as possible."
Scotland's Derek Hawkins was the home nations' best performer, crossing the line ninth in 2:14:15 despite being sick on the way to the finish, while Steven Way finished 10th with a personal best.
The 40-year-old English runner was beaming from ear to ear after his 2:15:16 time, just seven years on from weighing in at 16-and-a-half stone and smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
"Best day ever," Way said. "I normally say it's second best to my wedding day but this one matches it. Sarah won't mind, I think.
"All my top goals - top 10, PB, British vet record - and I've managed all three. I couldn't have wished for a better day."