SUNSHINE COAST MARATHON: Chasing a grand dream
TWO-time Sunshine Coast Marathon festival 10km winner Clare Geraghty wants to use her race on Sunday as a stepping stone in her quest to compete at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Geraghty has upped her distance to the half-marathon after winning the shorter event in 2012 and last year.
The 28-year-old dreams of representing Australia in the marathon.
Her recent results, which include wins at the 10km Bridge to Brisbane and 14km City to South runs, as well as a third at this month's 14km City to Surf, have given her the self-belief she can excel on the international stage.
"I have got big goals and plans," Geraghty said.
"I am mentally tough, I suppose, and I know that is where I am destined to be.
"I want to be at the 2018 Commonwealth Games for the marathon, so I have my sights set on that."
The sports science university student is also not ruling out a tilt at the 2016 Rio Olympics, if she improves at a faster rate then expected.
"Obviously if I am in the right shape I will always put the hand up for the Olympic trials for Rio," she said.
"I also want to make the Australian cross country team for the world championships in China next year.
"Four years is a long time to wait so I would be stoked if the Olympics were on the cards for me."
Geraghty had a disrupted 2013 season after breaking her heel through excessive running, requiring her to wear a moon boot for 12 weeks.
With that injury behind her, she said she was feeling better than ever ahead of Sunday's event.
"I am back to my best and am really looking forward to racing up there on the Coast and getting some longer distances under my belt," she said.
"Living in Brisbane, I am just so excited for what lies ahead and the possibility of racing at the Gold Coast Games.
"This is a building ground and I have to get my base right first."