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Hancock sisters overrun

Before the storm...
Before the storm... Mark Donaldson

A POWERHOUSE performance from defending champion Alicia Marriott thwarted the Hancock sisters' hopes of victory in the Coolangatta Gold on the Gold Coast yesterday.

Marriott won her third title in the surf lifesaving marathon when she ran away from Courtney Hancock on the final 7.5-kilometre run leg, while Bonnie Hancock finished fourth.

The sisters, from Sawtell, who now compete with the Northcliffe club, were in contention throughout the race, which was held in testing surf on a hot and humid day but in the end they had to bow to Marriott's greater endurance.

The Hancock sisters matched strides and strokes with the winner for much of the course and both were satisfied with their performances.

Marriott and the Hancocks were part of the leading pack at the end of the opening 15km ski leg and then in the 4.5km board paddle Courtney made it to the beach alongside Marriott with Bonnie 20 metres behind.

Marriott was able to open up a small gap in the 2.5km swim and then powered away at the start of the final run to set up victory.

Courtney followed her to the line to match her second-place finish in 2008 while Bonnie was passed by clubmate Elizabeth Pluimers in the run to the finish but held on for fourth.

Marriott's winning time was 3 hours 21 minutes 30 seconds, while Courtney finished in 3:24.45 and Bonnie in 3:27.26.

“I was pretty happy, I did the best I could out there, I didn't leave anything in the tank,” Courtney said. “It's such a hard race because so much goes into it and it's such a massive six months training for this.

“It's a very special race, especially for Bonnie and me as last year we lost our grandmother on the morning of this race so I think we'll definitely do it every year in memory of her.”

Bonnie said she was happy to have been in contention for the title for so long.

“You've got to put yourself up there and go out hard from the start,” she said.

“Because it's such a long race you think it's not going to be too quick but the girls are absolutely flying.

“Alicia was on fire and Courtney and I were just trying to go with her.

“I started to cramp up a little in the last run leg but no excuses at all.

“Alicia, Courtney and Liz were just better on the day.”