Insights into the Gold Coast Marathon and running goals

David asks
Can you please give me some insights into the Gold Coast Marathon?  I will be running it for the first time in July, and are desperate to break the 3 hour barrier.  My last 2 marathons have been in Melbourne in Oct 10 (3:04:06), and then the Cadbury Hobart in Jan 11 (3:05:40).  I was well positioned in Hobart to get under 3hrs with a 1:27 at the half, but couldn’t sustain the pace, and I suppose hit the wall.  Melbourne was completely different, and felt good right through the race.  I’ve heard that Gold Coast is fairly flat, so I’m feeling reasonability confident.  Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Lee's response

Hi Dave,

The Gold Coast Marathon is flat and can be relatively fast. Here is the course
The first 15km out to Burleigh Heads and then 15km back is run along the beach line and does have a few twist and turns but as you run in between high rise apartments for some of it and you see runners on their way back from the turn as you head out, the atmosphere is great.
The last 12km out to Runaway Bay is fairly open and as the race starts at 7am, it can get hot in the second half so hydration is paramount.
There will be a 3hr pace group and the objective is to get settled early and let the group pull you through.

Like with all marathons training is properly is crucial so make sure you are getting in those long runs so that you have plenty to draw from when you are starting to get tired in the last 1/3 of the race.