The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.
Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.
With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast. In the past, men at the 2:11-2:13 level in February's Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon and Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon were sent to the Chicago Marathon for international racing experience. This year they are all coming to the Gold Coast. Of the 21 men on the entry list with recent bests under 2:16, fifteen are Japanese.
The entry list looks more like a domestic Japanese marathon than an overseas race, its front end looking to clear the sub-2:08:30 MGC auto-qualifier and the rest to generate times that will put the two-race sub-2:11 average option for qualifying in range. Kawauchi is the only one to have already qualified, but six others on the entry list have one run on the books and could qualify with a solid follow-up run at Gold Coast. Of these Noguchi and Takuya Fujikawa (Chugoku Denryoku) have the best chance, Noguchi needing to run 2:10:12 and Fujikawa 2:10:01 this time out.
JRN will be on-site at the Gold Coast Marathon throughout race weekend. For the fifth year in a row JRN will once again be doing race commentary on the official webcast. Check back for more closer to race date.
40th Gold Coast Marathon Men's Elite Field HighlightsGold Coast, Australia, July 1, 2018
times listed are best within last three years except where noted
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)
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