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Distance not the barrier for Celia

WIN: Melbourne marathon champion Celia Sullohern on Sunday. Picture: AAP ImageMelbourne marathon winner Celia Sullohern will headline Sunday’s Fernleigh 15 just a week after her career-best long-distanceperformance.

The women’s record holder for the annual Lake Macquarie event took out the Victorian 42-kilometre race in two hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds.

It was a five-minute personal best, top-10 Australian all-time and fourth on the 2017 national rankings behind fellow countrywomen Lisa Weightman Jess Trengove andVirginia Moloney ahead of next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

But that won’t stop the 25-year-old former Novocastrian from slowing down this weekend according to coach, Rio Olympian and Fernleigh 15 organiser Scott Westcott.

“My advice would be to take it easy, but I dare say she’ll pin her ears back,” Westcott said.

“We’ll give her the starting duties, but I reckon she’ll drop the gun and go.”

Sullohern, who also claimed the City2Surf in Sydney in August, will more than likely battle it out with Kahibah’s Bridey Delaney, who was second over 10km in Melbourne on Sunday.

In the men’s race Newcastle’s Vlad Shatrov will shoot for a third straight crown on the Fernleigh Track.

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Newcastle-based Rheed McCracken will lead the Fernleigh 15 wheelchair section minus Hunter ParalympiansKurt Fearnley and Christie Dawes. McCracken moves up in distance after breakingthe men’s 100m T34 world record in Switzerland in May.

Westcott said around 1100 athletes had signed up for the sixth annual edition of the Fernleigh 15, which included more than 200 in a newly-formed five-person team relay section.

Entries are still being taken at Kotara Westfield’s ‘Rooftop’ on Saturday between 9am and 5pm.

Racing on Sunday starts near Adamstown’s St Pius X High Schoolfrom 7:55am. The finish line is located behind Belmont TAFE.