RELIEF: Gold Coast's Leshay Wells crosses the line to win the women's half marathon.
RELIEF: Gold Coast's Leshay Wells crosses the line to win the women's half marathon. Brian Cassidy

First time the charm for Gold Coast runner

RUNNING: Gold Coast's Leshay Wells had a secret weapon as she prevailed in her first Cane2Coral.

The 24-year-old yesterday was the first female over the line in the half marathon in the annual running race from the Bundaberg Port to Bargara.

She was more than four minutes ahead of her nearest rival Chantel Kriel in what was just her second half marathon since returning to the sport from a layoff.

"I felt pretty good at the beginning of the race," Wells said.

"At the beginning of the race I went out a bit hard and came home hard and kept steady in the middle.

"I was aiming to do sub four minute 30-kilometres, which I was under for the whole race."

Wells might have been competing at the event for the first time, but she had inside knowledge of how to attack the track.

Her cousin Belinda Toplis finished third at the same event last year.

"I have some family here in Hervey Bay and they did the event last year and they suggested I come up," Wells said.

"She (Toplis) gave me a few tips on what the course was like.

"She said there was a lot of gradual hills and gradual climbs that goes into a bit of a trail at the end, so I was aware of that, which was good."

Wells said she trained a few times a week, running between 8km and 14km during each session.

She now plans to have a rest and see what comes up in the next few months in relation to competing in other events.

In the men's 21km competition, there was a familiar face in the winners' circle.

Bundaberg's Paul Tucker, who now lives in Yeppoon, won for the third time after winning in 2013 and 2014.

He was able to make amends for last year when he finished second in the same event.

"It was a good day, everything went according to plan," Tucker said.

"We started out fairly easy and upped the pace as we went along."

Tucker said he planned to compete in next year's event but had another event on his radar.

"There's a race in two weeks' time in Gladstone, it's called the Botanic to Bridge, another point to point race," he said.

"It's usually pretty fast and furious, and I haven't done it for quite some time so I look forward to sinking my teeth into it."

Tucker said he remained motivated to compete through his family.

"I wouldn't be able to do it without my wife being such a wonderful support," he said.

"I like running, running is meditative, you can either think about everything or think about nothing.

"I like the peace of mind it brings you and the sense of achievement you can get."

The event will be back next year for its 10th anniversary.



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