June 4th 2023

“I started running when I was ten years old. I grew up near the beach just north of Mackay (Bucasia). At low tide, it was great for running. My dad loved running, and I started running with him. Running has allowed me to travel the world, meet some incredible people, see some fantastic places and hear some inspirational stories. I enjoy running to keep fit as I get older; it’s such a time-efficient exercise. I’m a little busier now during the day (then when I was a full-time athlete) and running helps me maintain my fitness goals when busy!”

In 2004 Willis achieved what is arguably one of the most significant victories in Australian athletics when she won the World Cross Country Championships. She is the only Australian ever to win this race — arguably the hardest race in the world.

“Benita Willis is without doubt, Australia’s greatest female distance runner.”
– Sam Burke, runnerstribe.com

Benita is a 4 x Olympian, holds 10 current Australian and Oceania records including the marathon (2hr22min) and 10km (30:37min). She is a world champion, 4 x World Championship medalist and has won numerous major city road races around the world.

Benita is head coach at Lace Up Running – an online coaching business she started with partner Anthony Purton in 2020. Check out the great deals for coaching, especially for Mackay Marina Run participants!

Benita’s academic qualifications include a human movement/ education degree and a post-graduate certificate in Sports Nutrition. She also has a World Athletics Level 4 Coach Certification and a Certificate 4 in Personal Training. Benita is a member of the World Athletics Athlete Commission, the Oceania Athletics Athlete Commission, Events Management Qld Board Member, Director of Qrun and was inducted into the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame in 2018.