Friday, June 20, 2014

Gold Coast Airport Marathon Announces Elite Fields - Adihana, Tum and Kamakya Vs. Fujiwara, Kawauchi and Kurosaki

by Brett Larner

For its first edition as an IAAF gold label race, the July 6 Gold Coast Airport Marathon has put together men's and women's elite fields worthy of the distinction, and especially in the men's race with the multiple story lines that make a good race worth watching.  Three 2:06 men, Gebretsadik Abraha Adihana (Ethiopia), Stephen Tum (Kenya) and course record holder Nicholas Manza Kamakya (Kenya) lead the way.  Facing them is defending champion and joint CR-holder Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  In the race to ruin the day for Kawauchi are his arch-rival independent Arata Fujiwara (Mika House) and new training partner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project), appearing with support from JRN.  Gunning for both Kawauchi and Fujiwara is the pride of the corporate leagues, Hirokatsu Kurosaki of two-time New Year Ekiden national corporate champion Team Konica Minolta.

What more could you want?  The 2:10:01 course record?  Done.  Rob de Castella's 2:09:18 Australian all-comers' record?  Hard to see it not going without bad conditions.  Jorg Peters' 2:09:14 record for the fastest marathon ever run in July?  Well, that's almost the same, but okay, we'll throw that in too.  It should be just about the greatest men's marathon Australia has seen, at least outside of the Sydney Olympics, and with worldwide live streaming everybody gets to join in the fun.

It's harder to see the 2:23:14 women's all-comers' record set by Naoko Takahashi at the 2000 Sydney Olympics falling, but with five women in the race with PB times better than Yukiko Akaba's 2:27:17 CR win last year a new course record should be on tap.  Mulu Seboka (Ethiopia) looks like the favorite with a 2:23:43 best just over a year ago in Daegu that puts her nearly two minutes up on Pamela Chepchumba (Kenya) and three up on the rest of the African competition.  Japanese hopes lie with three women, corporate leaguers Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) and Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura), and its #1 independent woman Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC), a 2:31:28 club runner also appearing with support from JRN.

Deserving special mention is veteran amateur Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec AC), 2:29:30 in her prime and now in her 40s but still smashing a 2:36:53 course record at last fall's Kobe Marathon to earn an invite to the Gold Coast.  Her daughter Nozomi Tanaka is a two-time winner of the 4 km Junior Dash and, having grown to the point of winning a stage at January's National Women's Ekiden, should be a favorite in whatever distance she runs.

Next week look for an interview on JRN with Fujiwara and Njui from their training base in Kenya as they talk about their preparations and goals. JRN will also be on-site at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon throughout race weekend to cover what looks to be one of the season's best races. 

2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Gold Coast, Australia, July 6, 2014

Men
Gebretsadik Abraham Adihana (Ethiopia) - 2:06:23 (Amsterdam, 2012)
Nicholas Manza Kamakya (Kenya) - 2:06:34 (Amsterdam, 2011)
Stephen Tum (Kenya) - 2:06:35 (Marrakech, 2013)
Arata Fujiwara (Japan/Miki House) - 2:07:48 (Tokyo, 2012)
Stephen Kibiwot (Kenya) - 2:07:54 (Prague, 2009)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul, 2013)
Haile Haja Gemeda (Ethiopia) - 2:08:35 (Rome, 2013)
Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 2:09:07 (Tokyo, 2014)
Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 2:09:10 (Tokyo, 2011)
Ahmed Baday (Morocco) - 2:09:16 (Daegu, 2012)
Erick Mose (Kenya) - 2:09:44 (Los Angeles, 2013)
Lee Troop (Australia) - 2:09:49 (Biwako, 2003)
Chiharu Takada (Japan/Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:39 (Fukuoka, 2013)
Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 2:11:57 (Boston, 2014)
Hironori Arai (Japan/Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:12:27 (Biwako, 2011)
Wirimai Juwawo (Zimbabwe) - 2:12:28 (Danzhou, 2010)
Rowan Walker (Australia) - 2:18:01 (Melbourne, 2010)
Silah Kipkemboi Limo (Kenya) - debut - 1:01:26 (Singapore Half, 2013)
Hiroki Sugawa (Japan/DeNA RC) - debut - 1:03:43 (Nat'l Univ. Half, 2013)

Women
Mulu Seboka (Ethiopia) - 2:23:43 (Daegu, 2013)
Pamela Chepchumba (Kenya) - 2:25:36 (Milan, 2007)
Yebrgual Melese (Ethiopia) - 2:26:14 (Paris, 2014)
Goitetom Tesema (Ethiopia) - 2:26:21 (Rome, 2011)
Emily Samoei (Kenya) - 2:26:52 (Barcelona, 2012)
Lamei Sun (China) - 2:27:55 (Beijing, 2012)
Asami Kato (Japan/Team Panasonic) - 2:29:08 (Nagoya Women's, 2014)
Chihiro Tanaka (Japan/Athlec AC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya Women's, 2002)
Zebenay Gebre Moges (Ethiopia) - 2:31:14 (San Antonio, 2009)
Rika Shintaku (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 2:31:15 (Tokyo, 2014)
Tsehay Desalegn (Ethiopia) - 2:31:25 (Prague, 2014)
Hiroko Yoshitomi (Japan/First Dream AC) - 2:31:28 (Tokyo, 2013)
Jane Fardell (Australia) - 2:37:35 (Paris, 2013)
Tarli Bird (Australia) - debut - 1:14:44 (half, 2013)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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