Skip to main content

Gold Coast Marathon Preview

This weekend Australia's Gold Coast Marathon celebrates 40 years with a race that should see new course records in both the women's and men's races. On the women's side, favorite Agnes Barsosio of Kenya was quietly confident at the pre-race press conference, saying that she thought a time under last year's 2:25::34 course record was a probability and that a 2:23 wouldn't be surprising if the weather conditions were good enough. The forecast looks to be in her favor, so the main question will be how much support she can get from her strongest competition, fellow Kenyan Ruth Chebitok, local Jessica Trengove and the 2:27 Japanese duo of Ayaka Fujimoto and Miharu Shimokado.

Chebitok's 2:25:49 best from earlier this year in Barcelona puts her in range if she can repeat the same quality of performance. Trengove has the motivation of a $40,000 bonus from organizers for a time under 2:28. Coached by former men's half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato, Fujimoto told JRN her training has been good and that she's in shape to better the 2:27:08 she ran last year in Tokyo at age 18. Shimokado announced earlier this week that she was quitting her corporate team to go the independent route, so she will the extra motivation to get things off on the right foot.

The men's race, buried under a mountain of Japanese men chasing qualifying times for Japan's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials, is planned to go out in 1:04:00 for the first half, an ambitious time for most of the field and one that would put both the 2:08:42 course and Australian all-comers record and the 2:08:30 MGC auto-qualifier in range. Only two men in the field have beaten that 2:08:42 mark in the last three years, Kenyan Victor Kipchirchir and the man who ran it, 2015-16 Gold Coast winner Kenneth Mungara. Douglas Chebii of Kenya was only 1 second off earlier this year in Seville, and last year's Gold Coast champ Takuya Noguchi of Japan wasn't far away with a 2:08:59 to outkick Mungara.

Not many Japanese men in the field have a realistic chance of going under 2:08:30, the real contenders being only Noguchi and 2018 Boston Marathon champ Yuki Kawauchi, last year's 3rd-placer. Kenta Murayama has potential with multiple sub-61 half marathons to his name, but so far he hasn't shown any aptitude in the marathon with just a 2:16:58 debut in 2016 and a 2:17:43 follow-up in March at Lake Biwa. Most of the 20 Japanese men in the field will be happy with a time near 2:11, which puts MGC qualification in range based on its two-race sub-2:11 average option.

Speaking to JRN pre-race, elite athlete director Ryan McDonald picked Japan-based 2:09:21 Kenyan Michael Githae, who runs for the Suzuki Hamamatsu AC club team in Shizuoka, as a potential dark horse. "He's run five marathons so far with every one since his debut a PB," McDonald told JRN. "It wouldn't surprise me to see him take that further here on the Gold Coast."

The Gold Coast Marathon starts at 7:20  local time on Sunday, July 1. The race will be streamed live worldwide, with JRN doing guest commentary for the fifth year in a row. Check here for splits and live results from both the marathon and accompanying half marathon and 10 km races.

40th Gold Coast Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Gold Coast, Australia, July 1, 2018
times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Agnes Jeruto Barsosio (Kenya) - 2:20:59 (Paris 2017)
Ruth Chebitok (Kenya) - 2:25:49 (Barcelona 2018)
Jessica Trengove (Australia) - 2:27:01 (London 2017)
Ayaka Fujimoto (Japan) - 2:27:08 (Tokyo 2017)
Miharu Shimokado (Japan) - 2:27:54 (Nagoya Women's 2017)
Celia Sullohern (Australia) - 2:29:27 (Melbourne 2017)
Mao Uesugi (Japan) - 2:31:49 (Tokyo 2018)
Yukari Abe (Japan) - 2:35:47 (Nagoya Women's 2015)

Victor Kipchirchir (Kenya) - 2:07:39 (Valencia 2016)
Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) - 2:08:38 (Milan 2016)
Douglas Chebii (Kenya) - 2:08:43 (Seville 2018)
Takuya Noguchi (Japan) - 2:08:59 (Gold Coast 2017)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Philip Sanga (Kenya) - 2:09:19 (Ljubljana 2016)
Michael Githae (Kenya) - 2:09:21 (Biwako 2018)
Chiharu Takada (Japan) - 2:10:43 (Gold Coast 2016)
Shoya Osaki (Japan) - 2:11:03 (Gold Coast 2017)
Takuya Fujikawa (Japan) - 2:11:59 (Beppu-Oita 2018)
Takuya Suzuki (Japan) - 2:12:08 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Ryu Takaku (Japan) - 2:12:12 (Beppu-Oita 2018)
Shota Yamazaki (Japan) - 2:12:15 (Nobeoka 2018)
Shohei Kurata (Japan) - 2:13:16 (Hofu 2017)
Keiji Akutsu (Japan) - 2:13:26 (Tokyo 2015)
Kohei Futaoka (Japan) - 2:13:28 (Beppu-Oita 2018)
Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 2:14:00 (Warsaw 2017)
Kansuke Morihashi (Japan) - 2:14:25 (Tokyo 2018)
Jo Fukuda (Japan) - 2:15:11 (Hokkaido 2017)
Junji Katakawa (Japan) - 2:15:19 (Shizuoka 2016)
Saeki Makino (Japan) - 2:15:22 (Seoul 2015)
Kenta Murayama (Japan) - 2:16:58 (Tokyo 2016)

text and photos © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Running the 2020 Olympic Marathon Course Part Two - The Women's Marathon

Today marks two years until the women's marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There's been a lot of concern about the 7:00 a.m. start time approved by the IOC two weeks ago as it means that athletes will be running under direct sunlight in temperatures in the low 30's and potentially high humidity. I went down to the Olympic Stadium site this morning and, starting at exactly 7:00 a.m., ran 30 km of the course to check for myself what kind of conditions the athletes will be facing.

If you're not familiar with Tokyo, take a look at the map to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. I ran from the stadium to the 20 km point and then back, cutting out the sections from 20 to 28 km and from 31 to 35 km which I'll do next week on the 9th, two years ahead of the men's marathon.
The bad news: The conditions were tough. With zero cloud cover and very little wind, at the time of the 7:00 a.m. start at the Olympic Stadium it was 31.1˚C with 68% humidity according…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…