Skip to main content

Fujiwara to Face Kawauchi at Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner
Fujiwara photo c/o Arata Project
Kawauchi photo by Arata Fujiwara

For its first running as an IAAF gold label event, Australia's Gold Coast Airport Marathon has announced that 2:07:48 Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) will face his greatest rival, defending Gold Coast champion and course record co-holder Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), at this year's race on July 6.  As the two independents who have changed the face of modern Japanese men's marathoning, Fujiwara and Kawauchi should bring the fireworks to light up one of the summer's best races.  Or winter, depending on your point of view.

The only Japanese man in the last 27 years to win a marathon outside Japan sub-2:10, Fujiwara had a nearly undefeated record against Kawauchi going into last fall, starting the season by beating him at the Great North Run and Hakodate Half Marathon.  Since then he's had three straight losses, losing to Kawauchi at Fukuoka, the Sendai Half and the Gifu Seiryu Half along with weak results at the Marugame Half and Tokyo Marathon in February after coming down with the flu.  Appearing with support from JRN, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is the first marathon Fujiwara is running as part of a two-year training plan to take him to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and after the dry spell he has gone through he is looking to get things flowing again with another sub-2:10 overseas win the way he likes it best, ahead of Kawauchi.

Kawauchi comes into the race with momentum, tying the 2:10:01 CR last year and setting four marathon course records so far this year along with a 2:09:36 at May's Hamburg Marathon that made him the first Japanese man in history to go sub-2:10 seven times in his career.  Achieving what he missed last year, a sub-2:10 win on foreign soil, would put him into the exclusive five-man club of which Fujiwara is already a member, and there is nobody he'd like to beat more to get there.  Kawauchi may be the favorite, but with a minority two wins against Fujiwara in five marathons to date it won't be easy.  Whoever crosses the line first, the course record is bound to fall, and the chances look good that the ancient 2:09:18 Australian all-comers' record set in 1982 by the great Rob de Castella will finally go.

In the weeks before the race look for a full field preview and an exclusive talk on JRN with Fujiwara about his training in Kenya for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.  JRN will be on-site at the race, so look also for more original coverage throughout race weekend.

text (c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
Kawauchi photo (c) 2013 Arata Fujiwaraall rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Shitara Wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler

In a year that saw him deliver one of the most memorable debut marathons in history, a half marathon national record, 10000 m and marathon PBs and more, Yuta Shitara (Honda) ended 2017 on a high note, beating three-time defending champion Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) to win the 42nd Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler. Shitara, Karemi, London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), Ethiopian Abayneh Degu (Yasukawa Denki) and track ace Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) ran together in a lead group through the early going, but Shitara was just too much for the others to handle.

Shitara broke the tape in 45:58, only the fourth Japanese man to ever clear 45 minutes. Karemi was well under last year's winning time but nowhere close to catching Shitara, finishing 2nd in 46:10 and Inoue only 2 seconds behind him. With many corporate and university teams using Kosa to tune up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, it regularly produces the deepest 10 mile results i…