Matt Baxter and Lauren Hagans make their marathon choices
Hagans will run the Grandma’s Marathon and Baxter will run the Gold Coast Marathon
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., May 18, 2023 – HOKA Northern Arizona Elite announced today that two of its athletes will be running marathons this summer. Lauren Hagans will be making her marathon debut on June 17 in Duluth, Minn. at the Grandma’s Marathon. Two weeks later, Matt Baxter–after making his own debut with a 12th-place finish last fall at the TCS New York City Marathon, will compete in the Gold Coast Marathon in Queensland, Australia on July 2.
Baxter, who represents New Zealand, will be competing in one of the most prestigious marathons in the entire Oceania region.
“I chose the Gold Coast Marathon because it is a fast course and an Oceania Championship,” Baxter said. “I am looking forward to racing against some of the best Oceania and international athletes in a beautiful part of Australia.”
Hagans is coming off a runner-up finish at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in February and will be looking to carry that momentum into her first ever marathon.
“I chose Grandma’s Marathon because it looks like a great course and a fun race for my debut.”
HOKA NAZ Elite has a successful history at Grandma’s. In 2018, Kellyn Taylor won the race and set the course record of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 28 seconds. Five years later, despite a boom in women’s marathoning and advancements in shoe technology, Taylor’s record still stands. Though the entire field has yet to be released for this year’s race, Grandma’s has announced that two-time defending champion, Dakotah Lindwurm, will be back to try and make it three in a row. Lindwurm won last year’s race in a personal best of 2:25:01. Hagans who owns bests of 15:10.01 for 5,000 meters, 31:53.72 for 10,000 meters, and 1:09:46 for the half marathon will likely be one of the pre-race favorites, along with Lindwurm, when the full entry list comes out next month.
Taylor is the only NAZ Elite to have competed at the Grandma’s Marathon. Similarly, only Stephanie Bruce has competed at Gold Coast. She was fourth at last year’s race where she was paced by her husband, Ben Bruce. The Bruce’s will now be able to pass along their course knowledge to Baxter, a longtime teammate.
Ben Bruce said Gold Coast is one of the only options in the summer for U.S. based athletes, which worked well for Baxter this year–especially because he’s from the Oceania region.
“Not that he needs it, but with the race being the Oceania Championship Matt will have extra incentive to run well,” Bruce said. “The fans will be pulling a little extra hard for him.”
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