The Gold Coast Airport Marathon on 3 July will welcome one of the fastest international elite fields in Australian marathon history, headlined by Kenneth Mungara, winner of last year’s edition of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
The 42-year-old Kenyan shaved 32 seconds off the previous Australian all-comers’ record when he broke away from defending champion Silah Limo and compatriot Evans Ruto in the final two kilometres to finish in 2:08:42.
That mark will be under threat next month as six of the confirmed athletes in the men’s field own personal bests faster than Mungara’s course record.
Kenya’s Peter Some is the fastest in the field, having clocked 2:05:38 when winning the 2013 Paris Marathon. He’ll be joined by 2013 Sydney Marathon winner Willy Koitile, who has a personal best of 2:08:32, and former course record-holder Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, whose PB stands at 2:08:14.
Kawauchi’s return marks his fifth consecutive appearance and produces mouth-watering clashes with compatriot and long-term rivals Arata Fujiwara and Mongolian record-holder Ser-od Bat-ochir, who is attempting to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games.
The women’s course record and all-comers’ record of 2:27:17, set by Japan’s Yukiko Akaba in 2013, is also under threat with seven of the leading athletes having personal best times faster than 2:28.
Japanese women have historically dominated the race, accounting for 13 wins since 1990 including the past four editions. 2004 Berlin Marathon winner Yoko Shibui, Misato Horie and 2014 Gold Coast Marathon runner-up Rika Takenaka will look to continue this trend.
Ethiopia’s Gulume Tollessa and Meseret Mengistu both ran sub-2:24 PBs last year and will be hard to beat, so too will compatriot and 2015 Rome Marathon winner Meseret Tolwak. Leah Kiprono and Agnes Mutune are set on becoming the first Kenyan woman to win the race.
The women’s race will also feature China’s Wei Wei Sun and athletes from Mongolia, Hungary and Hong Kong vying for Olympic selection.
Organisers for the IAAF
Peter Some (KEN) 2:05:38
Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:07:36
Arata Fujiwara (JPN) 2:07:48
Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:08:14
Beraki Zerea (ERI) 2:08:27
Willy Koitile (KEN) 2:08:32
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (MGL) 2:08:50
Milton Rotich (KEN) 2:08:55
John Cheruiyot (KEN) 2:08:56
Birhanu Achamie (ETH) 2:09:27
Chiharu Takada (JPN) 2:10:03
Abraraw Misganaw (ETH) 2:10:22
Abdelhadi El Hachimi (BEL) 2:11:30
Tatsunori Hamasaki (JPN) 2:12:12
Yoko Shibui (JPN) 2:19:41
Gulume Tollessa (ETH) 2:23:12
Meseret Mengistu (ETH) 2:23:26
Wei Wei Sun (CHN) 2:25:15
Meseret Tolwak (ETH) 2:27:17
Leah Kiprono (KEN) 2:27:40
Misato Horie (JPN) 2:27:57
Rika Takenaka (JPN) 2:29:27
Agnes Mutune (KEN) 2:30:13
Hirotomi Nakamura (JPN) 2:33:23