Milly Clark and Eloise Wellings have finished first and second in the Melbourne Marathon, adding their names to the list of contenders for next year’s world championships and Commonwealth Games.
Rio Olympic marathoner Clark (two hours, 27 minutes) and two-time Olympic middle distance runner Wellings (2:29:20) both ran personal bests on Sunday to finish within the qualification standard for next year’s marque events.
Brett Robinson (2:14:34) won the men’s event but did not finish inside the qualification time.
Wellings has only transitioned to marathon this year after competing in London 2012 and then finishing in the top 10 of both the 10,000m and 5000m at the 2016 Rio Games.
What a weekend at the Melbourne Marathon Festival!
Milly Clark and Eloise Wellings run personal bests to meet the Commonwealth Games standard and qualify for the 2022 World Athletics Championships, whilst Brett Robinson clinches a classy win. #ThisIsAthletics pic.twitter.com/K0yFPRm7Ib
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) December 12, 2021
Clark raced in Rio in 2016, finishing 18th in just her second marathon, and also qualified for the Tokyo Games.
But after a string of COVID-19 delays she withdrew before the final Olympic team was selected.
Their efforts come after Jess Stenson’s personal best (2:25:13) in October’s Perth Marathon, her first race since having a child.
Also in the mix is Sinead Diver, who finished 10th in the Tokyo Games marathon in Sapporo, becoming only the second Australian woman to complete a top-10 Olympic finish.
But selectors must settle on three Australian women on the start line for next year’s world championships in Oregon.
And with only 68 spots on Australia’s Commonwealth Games athletics team, there could be even less in Birmingham.
Selectors will push forward prospects in some disciplines if they’re deemed more likely to medal, even if they haven’t met the time or distance standards.