Sara Hall and Desi Linden Will Go Head-to-Head at ASICS Half Marathon

Two of America’s most distinguished female marathoners, Sara Hall and Desiree Linden, will headline the ASICS Half Marathon on July 2.

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A head-to-head battle between two of America’s most distinguished female marathoners, Sara Hall and Desiree Linden, will headline the ASICS Half Marathon at this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday, July 2, in Queensland, Australia, organizers reported last week.

The versatile Hall, an American National Cross-Country champion who has also won the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile, will return to the Gold Coast after placing second in the same race in 2015. Linden, a two-time Olympian and 2011 Boston Marathon second place-getter, will race on Australian soil for the first time.

“I had an incredible time in my first ASICS Half Marathon on the Gold Coast. It was magical getting to start at dark and watch the sun rise over the broadwater on the perfectly flat road,” Hall said in a statement. “The course is great for running an even effort because of how fast and flat it is. It will be my first long race in a long time, so I’m excited to see where I’m at and hopefully run a personal best time.”

The 33-year-old Linden, who holds a half-marathon personal best time of 1:10:34, said the ASICS Half Marathon was a chance to extend her marathon season after placing fourth at the Boston Marathon (2:25:06) and seventh in the United Airlines NYC Half (1:11:05) last March.

“I was looking for a good fast half marathon in mid-July. I’ve seen results from the Gold Coast over the past couple years and it’s always quick for this time of year, has great conditions and is an absolutely gorgeous course,” Linden said.

“I always feel great doing big volume weeks leading into a marathon, but rarely have a chance to taper and race shorter distances during this type of training, so I’m excited to see what type of results this will yield.”

Linden will not only line up alongside her compatriot, but she will also reacquaint herself with Rio 2016 Olympic Games Australian rivals Milly Clark and Jessica Trengove who she beat to seventh place in 2:26:08, Clark 18th in 2:30:53 and Trengove 22nd in 2:31:44.

“I was excited to see Sara’s name in the field. She’s had some great races recently and I know she’ll be looking for another quality run. She’s an incredibly tough competitor so I think we’ll really be able to push each other and hopefully we can both land some great times,” Linden said.

“The Australian women were very good in Rio and just stepped up to a whole new level with their marathon performances this spring,” Linden added.

RELATED: Patience Pays Off For Sara Hall at Friehofer’s Run for Women