Three past winners will battle for supremacy in the 40th edition Gold Coast Marathon on Sunday 1 July in what shapes as a record-breaking men’s IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Defending champion Takuya Noguchi from Japan, 2015 and 2016 winner Kenneth Mungara from Kenya and 2013 winner Yuki Kawauchi from Japan, will all return to stake their claim for the 20,000 AUD winner’s purse and up to an additional 20,000 AUD in time bonuses.
The elite trio finished one, two, three in last year’s Gold Coast Marathon, with Noguchi outstaying Mungara in the final kilometre to win in his personal best (PB) of 2:08:59.
In the 2016 race, Mungara and Kawauchi produced one of the all-time great Gold Coast Marathon finishes with only one second separating them at the tape with the Kenyan victorious for a second time.
Noguchi, who turns 30 the day after the race, comes in with good form following a 2:11:48 run at the Lake Biwa Marathon in March followed by a 1:03:41 half marathon in Sendai, Japan last month. Age does not weary the 44-year-old Mungara who will be attempting his fourth Gold Coast Marathon.
The Kenyan sensationally won the 2015 event in 2:08:42, a time that still stands as the race record and Australian allcomers record.
Mungara started 2018 in style with victory in the Hong Kong Marathon in 2:13:39 and then bravely finished 10th in the marathon at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as many wilted around him in warm conditions. Kawauchi will continue his love affair with the Gold Coast Marathon making the trip back for the seventh consecutive year and chasing a fifth podium finish. His honour roll at the event reads fourth in 2012, first in 2013, third in 2014, eighth in 2015, second in 2016 and third last year.
Only Australian Pat Carroll, with seven, has more podium finishes in the history of the Gold Coast Marathon. Kawauchi is in white-hot form winning the historic Boston Marathon in April after a season’s best of 2:11:46for victory in Kita-Kyushu, Japan in February.
If the ‘citizen runner’ can salute in 2018, it will be extra special with his mother Mika (Southern Cross University 10km Run) and brothers Koki (ASICS Half Marathon) and Yoshiki (Southern Cross University 10km Run) joining him in Australia for the 40th edition of the event.
The men’s race will also feature four other Kenyan athletes who have run sub 2:10 marathons - Philip Sanga, Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii and Michael Githae – while Jeffrey Eggleston (USA) makes a return to the Gold Coast, the scene of his second placing in 2014.
Along with Kawauchi, Japan will be well stocked with representatives in the men’s race including 2:10:03runner Chiharu Takada and Junji Katakawa, fifth in last year’s Kobe Marathon.
Katakawa is participating as part of a runner exchange program between the Gold Coast Marathon and Kobe Marathon in Japan.
Australia’s and New Zealand’s leading male runners in the event will have a good tussle for the IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Championship.
David Criniti (PB 2:17:57), Jack Colreavy (PB 2:18:32) and two-time Oceania Marathon champion Jonathan Peters (PB 2:20:05) will head Australia’s hopes, while New Zealand’s chances will be led by David Ridley (PB 2:20:10) and Nick Horspool (PB 2:20:10).