OLYMPIC race walker Rachel Tallent and international distance runner Shane Nankervis are backing City of Ballarat's play to host the Commonwealth Games marathon, an event turning into a bidding battle.
Tallent wants to ensure the walk is locked in for her hometown too. Race walking, like the marathon, is no guarantee for Ballarat, which has been named the host for track and field, and the prospect has other regional cities clamouring for the spotlight.
Tallent's older brother and coach Jared, an Olympic and Commonwealth Games walk gold medallist, retired as Australia's most prolific track and field athlete.
Ballarat is also home to Australia's leading marathon runner and 1994 Commonwealth gold medallist Steve Moneghetti, a fact that has drawn world-class runners to use this region as a training base.
Tallent said aside from a tourism and logistical push, Ballarat should stake its claim.
Having grown up in the hometown of Steve Moneghetti and Jared Tallent, why would you place these two disciplines somewhere else.- Rachel Tallent
"Having grown up in the hometown of Steve Moneghetti and Jared Tallent, why would you place these two disciplines somewhere else," Tallent said.
The marathon, one of the Games' most watched events, and its location has been one of the big outstanding questions since the Games were announced for "Victoria" on Ballarat turf last week.
While Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed Ballarat would host the Games' showpiece at Mars Stadium - the athletics program - there has been no word on where the marathon events would be run.
Cities such as Warrnambool, yet to be allocated any events, have the marathon in their sights predominantly for the tourism factor the event's broadcast can offer a region.
Nankervis, who competed in the 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon in Melbourne, said Ballarat could offer a great spectacle but this was also a place athletes would love to compete because of the city's great running history.
"Having the Games out in the community in regional Victoria is a great thing to promote Ballarat, the running community in Ballarat and to promote running in general - that's a positive thing to have," Nankervis said. "We should do what we can to support or band together to make this happen."
City of Ballarat chief executive Evan King confirmed to The Courier Ballarat leaders had been "advocating incredibly strongly" to ensure the men's and women's marathons take to Ballarat streets as part of the Commonwealth Games athletics program.
The endurance epic, covering 42.2km and inspired by another battle - at Marathon in ancient Greece- has also traditionally concluded in the athletics stadium of the host city.
Regional Development Australia chairman Stuart Benjamin, who is based in Ballarat, and Committee for Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton have also been championing the bid and are calling on the community to stand up and add their support.
Mr Benjamin said there was a chance for communities, such as Sebastopol, to rally for a spot on course.
Marathon and race walk events offered a chance to showcase everything incredible about Ballarat to the world via the broadcast as athletes took to the streets.
This is what other cities, such as Warrnambool, were lobbying to secure with prominent figures putting forward suggested routes for tourism promotion.
Mr King said Lake Wendouree, Sovereign Hill, Lydiard and Sturt streets, the Arch of Victory and the Avenue of Honour were in the Ballarat mix. He said this was a completely different chance to show off the city, compared to the Cycling Australia Road National Championships' broadcast in Buninyong - but the infrastructure, including the airport for helicopters, and on-ground expertise for broad cast were already in place.
Logistics is another key selling point for Ballarat that community leaders are promoting: all track and field athletes will be based in Ballarat; there will be a designated athletes village in Ballarat; and, Ballarat had what was needed to design a Commonwealth Games Federation approved course.
Mr Poulton has worked at four Olympic Games and five world university games. He said logistically splitting in-stadia and out-of stadia athletics events created difficulties for medical support, nutritionists, physiotherapy and the broader team support.
Tallent said athletics team support mattered and splitting the team up could create extra stresses.
She is vying to earn her place on the Australian team, especially with the added motivation of potential Ballarat hometown support.
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