Silah Limo winning the 2014 Gold Coast Marathon (© organisers)
This year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday 5 July will assemble the strongest elite marathon running field in its 37-year history, headlined by the return of the past two men's winners, Kenya’s Silah Limo and Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, organisers of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced on Monday (18).
Last year, Limo broke Rob de Castella’s long-standing Australian all-comers record when he clocked 2:09:14 for victory at the Gold Coast, a race that doubled as his marathon debut.
Kawauchi, the 2013 winner, finished third behind Limo in 2:11:27 after a mid-race fall cost him valuable time and momentum.
“The confirmation of these elite runners is a significant development for this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon and consolidates the event’s status as Australia’s leading marathon,” said Gold Coast Airport Marathon CEO Cameron Hart.
“Having these quality runners already locked in for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is a strong indicator of the quality of this event and the pulling power it has on international elite athletes.
“The event has an IAAF Road Race Gold Label which puts it amongst the top echelon of marathon races worldwide, and really makes elite runners sit up and take notice of the Gold Coast when planning their key races for the year.
“We are also reaching a massive international audience now through the television and digital coverage of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon which helps to showcase how flat and fast the course is: attractive features for elite runners.”
Ten of the confirmed men’s field have marathon times under 2:10:00, with the fastest in the field being a first-time visitor to the Gold Coast, Ethiopia’s Berhanu Shiferaw Tolcha, who has run 2:04:48.
Four of the leading women’s contenders all have best times under 2:30:00 with the race record of 2:27:17, set by Japan’s Yukiko Akaba in 2013, within their sights.
The Australian all-comers record of 2:23:14 set by Japanese legend Naoki Takahashi at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games could also potentially be under threat, given the personal bests of Ukraine’s Olena Shurkhno and Ethiopia’s Biruktayit Eshetu Degafa, who have both run within one minute of Takahashi’s time.
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is also hosting the 2015 Oceania Area Marathon Championships and the men’s and women’s elite athletes from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific will be announced in the coming weeks.
Organisers for the IAAF
Leading international runners (with PBs)
Berhanu Shiferaw Tolcha (ETH) 2:04:48
Albert Matebor (KEN) 2:05:25
Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:07:36
Evans Ruto (KEN) 2:07:49
Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:08:14
Ryo Yamamoto (JPN) 2:08:44
Samuel Woldeamanuel (ETH) 2:08:45
Dereje Tadesse Raya (ETH) 2:08:46
Silas Limo (KEN) 2:09:14
Dominic Kimwetich (KEN) 2:09:36
Tewelde Estifanos Hidru (ERI) 2:10:18
Wirimai Juwawo (ZIM) 2:12:38
Olena Shurhno (UKR) 2:23:32
Biruktayit Eshetu Degafa (ETH) 2:23:51
Risa Takenaka (JPN) 2:28:09
Keiko Nogami (JPN) 2:28:19
Tsehay Desalegn Adhana (ETH) 2:31:25
Manami Kamitanida (JPN) 2:31:34
Isabella Ochichi (KEN) 2:31:38