Southern Cross University shines at the Gold Coast Marathon

Published 2 July 2018
Simon Rogers and Melinda Witchard Simon Rogers and Melinda Witchard

Southern Cross University was named the largest corporate team at the 2018 Gold Coast Marathon, with 225 runners joining #TeamSCU across the weekend’s events.

Matthew Hill and his daughter Gabriella Hill
Music course coordinator Dr Matt Hill and his daughter Gabriella ran in the 10km Run

Before the sun rose on Saturday, the racing weekend began with a bang as Acting Chancellor Murray d'Almeida fired the starter gun for the Southern Cross University 10km Run.

Professional runner Jordan Gusman, originally from Coffs Harbour, broke away from the pack early and claimed victory in 28:42 min, shaving 11 seconds off Michael Shelley’s 2010 record with whom he shares renowned running coach Dick Telford. Olympian Madeline Hills was the first female runner across the line at 32:32, ahead of launching her second consecutive Olympic steeplechase campaign.

Championship runner Simon Rogers was the first Southern Cross student across the line at 32:17 in 37th place, with Emma Heagney the first female student at 48:59. The fastest TeamSCU female runner was Lismore’s Trinity College student and national racewalker Gabriella Hill, who won the 12-14 age division and 33rd overall, with a time of 37:50, outpacing her dad, Southern Cross University music course coordinator Dr Matt Hill.

As a PhD candidate, Simon lives in Canberra where he is conducting research and working with the Australian Institute of Sport alongside his training.

“I’m happy with how I went at this stage of my winter build-up training, ahead of the summer season,” said Simon, who usually races in 1500m athletics events.

“It is an amazing feeling running alongside so many other people in #TeamSCU and having teammates cheering from our tent beside the track. There is no greater feeling than running and giving it your best, especially in such a beautiful location on the Gold Coast.”

The TeamSCU spirit was pumping all weekend, with the team tent positioned along the track 200m before the finish line. Unilife staff and volunteers kept the barbecue sizzling, serving bacon and egg rolls and fruit and snacks for the team, while Southern Cross University osteopathy students and SOMA club members gave free post-race massages for runners at the tent.

On Sunday TeamSCU runners were pushed to their limits in the marathon and half-marathon, including Lismore nurse leader and Southern Cross graduate Joel Organ, who ran the half-marathon in under 80 minutes at 1:19:34 hour. As a coach at Australia’s only Liverpool International Academy, based at Southern Cross University, Mr Organ said he was running to prove to himself he could do it, while also inspiring the young footballers he trains.

“I was so stoked with my result, which is only my second event after retiring from running for 10 years,” Mr Organ said. “I came 11th in my age group and 101st overall, so I’m very happy with how the weekend turned out.”

Online student Brian Fuller was TeamSCU’s fastest in the half-marathon at 1:12:22, with Caroline Bellenger the fastest female at 1:41:54, tracking behind her son Amadeus at 1:35:43. Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science student Kirra Stedman was Southern Cross’ first female student in the half marathon at 1:51:44, while Bachelor of Business student Jesper Danielsson from Sweden was the fastest TeamSCU member in the full marathon, with a time of 03:24:01.

Running powerhouse Sophie Curnow was all smiles when she jogged over the 10km Run finish line with her mum Wilma on Saturday, and backed it up with a stellar performance as the fastest TeamSCU female in the Marathon at 03:27:38 on Sunday with mum and dad cheeringher on.

“The Gold Coast Marathon is always a highlight of the year for our family, and it’s become a tradition to take part in it together as part of TeamSCU,” the Gold Coast nursing student said.

After running more than 52km in two days, Sophie will today represent the University’s Women’s basketball team, which is competing at the UniSports Australia National Division 2 Championships all this week on the Gold Coast. The University is also represented in Badminton, Netball, Tennis and Touch Football.

Southern Cross University Sport & Recreation Officer Dave Graham said he was very proud of TeamSCU.

“We love the Gold Coast Marathon, as it involves everyone from students, staff and alumni to family and friends and is such a great event,” he said.

For all Gold Coast Marathon event results, visit

Photo: Jessica Nelson

Media contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794,