Marathon Trio Return to Gold Coast for Greater Honours

Marathon Trio Return to Gold Coast for Greater Honours
  • article date 18 June 2018 by Gold Coast Marathon

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).

Gold Coast Marathon Top 10 Seeds

  • Takuya Noguchi (JPN) 2:08:59
  • Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:07:36
  • Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:08:14
  • Philip Sanga (KEN) 2:06:07
  • Victor Kipchirchir (KEN) 2:07:39
  • Douglas Chebii (KEN) 2:08:43
  • Michael Githae (KEN) 2:09:21
  • Chiharu Takada (JPN) 2:10:03
  • Jeffrey Eggleston (USA) 2:10:52
  • Kenta Murayama (JPN) 2:16:58

Vital Statistics

Race record: Kenneth Mungara (KEN) - 2:08:42 - 2015

Most wins: 4 - Pat Carroll (AUS) - 1984-85, 88, 97

Gold Coast Marathon Fastest Performances

  1. Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:08:42 | 2015
  2. Silah Limo (KEN) 2:08:54 | 2015
  3. Evans Ruto (KEN) 2:08:55 | 2015
  4. Takuya Noguchi (JPN) 2:08:59 | 2017
  5. Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:09:00 | 2016
  6. Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:09:01 | 2016
  7. Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:09:04 | 2017
  8. Silah Limo (KEN) 2:09:14 | 2014
  9. Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:09:18 | 2017
  10. Tewelde Hidru (ERI) 2:09:33 | 2015

Comments from four of the top seeded runners:

Kenneth Mungara (KEN)

“I competed in the marathon at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. It was a very hot and difficult day for running. 

“I love coming back to the Gold Coast in July, as the course and weather suit me well and the people are very friendly and supportive. Overall I feel good at the Gold Coast and want to keep coming back. 

“I am a husband and father, community leader and businessman, plus I am a coach developing up-and-coming talent in Limuru in Kenya, near Nairobi. Sometimes days are not long enough, but I have a passion for everything I do and that keeps me going.”

Victor Kipchirchir (KEN)

“My last race was the Warsaw Half in Poland back in March, where I had a bit of an injury. My last marathon was in Valencia in Spain at the end of last year, where I ran 2:10:03. It was at that race in 2016 that I set my current PB of 2:07:39.

“It will be my first time in Australia and it’s a fast course with good prize money, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Douglas Chebii (KEN)

“My last full race was the Seville Marathon in Spain back in February, where I ran my PB of 2:08:39. After that, I paced the Santiago Marathon in Chile, won by my friend and teammate Luka Rotich. In the Gold Coast Marathon, the roles will be reversed and Luka will be pacing me.

“I ran this race last year for the first time and even though I didn’t finish, I really enjoyed it. It’s a great course and hopefully, we’ll get good conditions again this year. All other things being equal, I think the course record can definitely be improved.”

Michael Githae (KEN)

“On April 3 this year, I finished in fourth place in a 2:09:21 PB at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan. From April 23 to May 19, I was in Kenya for training, then since May 20, I have been training in Japan.

“Because I am in good shape, it looks like I can make a good race. I'm looking forward to it also because I have heard it is a nice course with nice scenery. My goal is to win and run a sub-2:09.”

Comments from Cameron Hart, Events Management Queensland CEO:

“I believe this is the best men’s field we have assembled for the Gold Coast Marathon in the event’s 40-year history and fifth year as an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

“The field features the top three finishers from last year, Takuya Noguchi, Kenneth Mungara and Yuki Kawauchi, between them having won four of the past five Gold Coast Marathons, and leading a total of seven sub 2:10 marathon performers.

“If recent history is anything to go by, this year’s race will be another close tussle with the race record a chance to be bettered.”

Comments from Pat Carroll, four-time race winner and event ambassador:

“The Gold Coast Marathon has once again assembled an impressive men’s field. I believe the in-form runner out of the top three is Yuki Kawauchi. Having said that, Kenneth Mungara has always delivered on the Gold Coast and Noguchi has youth on his side.

“The elite field has much depth and I believe any of the top eight are in there with a chance of a win.

“A course record is certainly on the cards. It would be an honour to have Yuki equal my seven podium finishes one day as I rate Yuki one of the toughest marathoners of all-time.”

The 40th edition Gold Coast Marathon will feature eight races including the Gold Coast Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Gold Coast Airport Fun Run, Garmin 4km Junior Dash and Garmin 2km Junior Dash. The Gold Coast Marathon is organised by Events Management Queensland, a major event management company wholly owned by the Queensland Government as part of Tourism and Events Queensland.

Visit goldcoastmarathon.com.au for more information.

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