Robinson breaks de Castella’s marathon record

Brett Robinson has broken Robert de Castella's Australian marathon record, set in 1986.

Brett Robinson has broken Robert de Castella's Australian marathon record, set in 1986. Photo: Getty

Brett Robinson and Sinead Diver have broken Australia’s long-standing marathon records within hours of each other.

Robinson finally eclipsed the mark set by distance running legend Rob de Castella, which had stood since five years before he was born.

After Robinson made his breakthrough at the Fukuoka International Marathon in Japan, Diver broke the Australian women’s record at Spain’s Valencia Marathon.

Robinson broke Rob de Castella’s Australian marathon record, which had stood since five years before he was born.

The 31-year-old finished fourth at Sunday’s Fukuoka International Marathon in two hours seven minutes 31 seconds, breaking the mark of the distance running legend by 20 seconds.

The record had stood since de Castella won the 1986 Boston Marathon in 2:07:51.

Robinson, a two-time Olympian, beat his personal best by two minutes 21 seconds.

Persistent stitch

He had again struggled with a persistent stitch, having suffered from the same problem when finishing 66th at last year’s Tokyo Olympics Marathon.

But in October, Robinson became only the sixth Australian to join the sub-2:10 club when he finished the London Marathon in 2:09:52.

“It’s such a great feeling. I’ve gone for this record a few times now, and it’s funny – I always talk about going for it before a race,” Robinson said.

“But I didn’t mention it to anyone this time around. I went about my own business and I finally got it. I knew I was capable of it.

“The current crop of Australian athletes are smashing records at the moment, and this was one of the last long-standing ones for us to tick off, so it means a lot to me to finally get this today.”

Coping by breathing differently

While Robinson suffered another stitch on Sunday, he has learned to overcome the problem.

“I had it in London during my last race, but I learnt to deal with it by breathing differently. It allowed me to keep going and keep a good pace,” he said.

“There’s always panic that sets in once I feel it coming on but after dealing with it, I was confident that I could stick within the pack.”

Robinson said his record had been made even more meaningful by the fact training partner Jack Rayner had paced him on Sunday.

“He did a great job, but having one of my best mates around helped me a lot this week and it makes it more special,” he said.

Diver, 45, clocked 2:21:34 in Valencia to beat the 2:22:36 set by Benita Willis in 2006 at the Chicago Marathon.

Diver broke her personal best by nearly three minutes after finishing 10th at the Tokyo Olympics.

Moneghetti tribute

Steve Moneghetti, whose 2:08:16 is now the third-best Australian time, paid tribute to Robinson.

“It’s not a surprise that he’s broken the record because his progression has shown he has been capable of doing this, but this is just terrific. To be so competitive with a fourth place finish shows what he can do on the world stage too,” Moneghetti said.

“I also want to give credit to Deeks for holding the record for so long. We’ve been waiting for it to be broken for so many years now, and we need to acknowledge just how hard it’s been for anyone to get even close.”


1. Brett Robinson, 2:07.31 – Fukuoka, Japan (4/12/22)

2. Rob de Castella, 2:07.51 – Boston (21/4/86)

3. Steve Moneghetti, 2:08:16 – Berlin (30/9/90)


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