Benita Willis Getty Images

Olympic Information

  • 2008 Beijing - 21st (marathon)
  • 2004 Athens - 24th (10,000m)
  • 2000 Sydney - 17th (5000m)

Recent Performances

  • 12th (5km road) - Albany Freihofer's Run for Women (Albany, USA)
  • 8th (10km road) - Manchester Great Run (Manchester, Great Britain)
  • 10th (10km road) - Boulder International Challenge (Boulder, USA)
  • 2nd (marathon) - Houston Marathon (Houston, USA)
  • 1st (half marathon) - Vegas Rock n Roll Half (Las Vegas, USA)

Career Highlights

  • Winning Australia's first gold medal at the 2004 World Cross Country Championships
  • Winning four medals at World Championship level in cross country and half marathon
  • Holding nine national records from 2km to marathon

Interesting Facts

  • Benita Willis made her international debut for Australia at the Sydney Olympics in the 5000m and has been Australia's outstanding distance runnner for over a decade. She is the current Oceania Record Holder for 2000m, 10km Road, 20km Road, 25km Road, 30km Road and Marathon.
  • Willis won the world cross country title in 2004 and is the last non-African to win that title. She has finished top 10 at world cross country eight times. She also won the bronze medal at the world half-marathon championships in 2003.
  • In 2006 she finished 3rd in the Chicago Marathon and broke Olympic silver medallist Lisa Ondeiki's Australian record in the process with a time of 2hrs 22min and 36 seconds.
  • 2008 was a torrid year for Willis. She began the year injured, worked her way back to form and then her dad who was her inspiration in athletics passed away just before the Beijing Olympics from an undiagnosed neurological disease. This tragedy and the break-up of her relationship that year meant she was emotionally drained. She ran out of time to qualify for her preferred 10,000m and yet still produced a solid 21st in the marathon. She dedicated her performance to her dad who wanted her to run at the Games.
  • Willis had a long break after Beijing. In January 2012 she ran her first marathon and finished second in the Houston Marathon in 2:28.24. This was her third fastest time ever and well under the qualifying time for London 2012.

Sport

Years on national team

12

Coach

Brad Hudson (2011 - current)
Nic Bideau (2001 - 2011)

Primary Training Base

Colorado, USA

Club

Glen Huntly (VIC, Australia)

Education

Primary

Bucasia State Primary School, Mackay (QLD, Australia)

Secondary

Mackay North State High School (QLD, Australia)

Tertiary

BA Human Movement/ Secondary Education - University of Canberra (2001)


Athletics Team

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