Willis at the London 2012 Olympics
|Birth name||Benita Jaye Willis|
6 May 1979 |
|Height||1.66 m (5 ft 5 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||50 kg (110 lb)|
Benita Willis (married name Benita Johnson, born Benita Jaye Willis on 6 May 1979 in Mackay, Queensland) is an Australian long-distance runner, who is a three-time national champion in the women's 5,000 metres. Her foremost achievement is a gold medal in the long race at the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She has also won team medals at that competition on two occasions. She has competed at the Summer Olympics four times (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012) and has twice represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games (2002, 2006).
At the 2003 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships she won the bronze medal with a time of 1:09:26 hours. In 2004, she won the 8K at the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and also the women's half marathon title at the Great North Run. She was 24th in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Olympic Games. At the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships she won her second career medal at the event by coming fourth in the short race and helping the Australian women to the team bronze medal. She set a time of 2:22:36 at the 2006 Chicago Marathon, a new Australian national record and an Oceania area record. She won the Berlin Half Marathon in 2007 in a personal best time of 1:08.28 hours. Her third international cross country medal came at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships as she finished eleventh in the long race to lead Australia to third on the team podium.
She finished third at the 2010 Great Ireland Run, recording a time of 34:28. In spite of a break of over three years without competing over the distance, she was the runner-up at the 2012 Houston Marathon with a time 2:28:24 hours (within the Olympic qualifying standard).
Willis was a training partner of Australian distance star Craig Mottram.
- iaaf.org - Area Records - Outdoor - Oceania - Women
- Fagan and Murray nab 10Km victories in Dublin. IAAF (2010-04-19). Retrieved on 2010-04-24.
- Jufar sizzles 2:06:51 as records tumble at Houston Marathon. IAAF (2012-01-16). Retrieved on 2012-01-16.