Michael Shelley boosted the Australian campaign in the 2014 Commonwealth Games with an impressive gold medal finish in the marathon event in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday.
Shelley clocked in at 2:11:15—a career-best-performance that saw him outrun mostly runners from the African continent. Stephen Chemlany (Kenya) at 2:11:58 took silver and Abraham Kiplimo (Uganda) at 2:12:23 settled for bronze.
Six of the top ten finishers were actually from either Kenya or Uganda but Shelley was dominating in the final stretch to assure Australia of yet another gold medal in Glasgow 2014.
Compatriots Liam Adams finished in 7th place (2:13:49) and Martin Dent ended up in 19th place (2:19:22) as among the Australian finishers in the athletics event with a distance of 42.195km course around the city.
The 30-year-old Shelley, who is from Southport, Australia, has now won two medals in the Commonwealth Games with the first one coming in 2010 Delhi when he won the silver.
The last time Australia won the marathon event was twenty years ago when Steve Moneghetti got gold in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada. That was also the last time that a non-African runner has placed first in Commonwealth marathon event.
Moneghetti, who is now a top official of the Australian delegation in Glasgow was proud of Shelley’s performance.
“I think the way Michael dominated the Africans was fantastic,” said Moneghetti, to The Independent. “To run a personal best on a championship course takes some doing.”
Shelley’s victory helped Australia lead his country past England in the medal rankings. The Aussies now have 73 medals (26-21-26 gold-silver-bronze) to the English’s 57 medals (23-17-17).
Shelley’s gold is the third for the Australians in athletics and second in marathon events. Jodi Elkington placed first in the women’s long jump final while Jess Trengove got the bronze in the women’s marathon.