Fijian marathon runner Ben Ashkettle has come out shining in his debut representing Fiji Athletics at the Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships last week in Cardiff, Wales.
Ashkettle who came in 29th ran with world-class runners and eclipsed Fiji’s Binesh Prasad’s national record of 1.07.57 set in 1993 by coming in with a time of 1.07.36 for the 21.1 kilometre run.
Ashkettle’s timing so far has been 1.11 in July when he ran in the 2018 Island Chill marathon in Suva, Fiji of 21.1km run, 1.09 in September (Melbourne) of 21.1km run, and now 1.07 in October (Cardiff).
With a goal to run 1.05 next, and eventually 1.03 Ashkettle said he will be training hard all summer with the goal of running under 2.19 in the marathon in April (Paris), and hopes to represent Fiji again in July at the Gold Coast Oceania Marathon Championships to qualify for the Doha World Championships.
Ashkettle who has maternal links opted for a Fijian passport this year as apart from being an honour to represent Fiji at world athletics events such as the Olympics it is the best way he can share culture and traditions.
“At the same time it helps make important relationships to boost athletics and opportunities in Fiji such as providing training and competition gear to those in need, which I have already begun doing,” he said.