Silah Limo from Kenya and Yuki Kawauchi from Japan are previous winners of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and this year they make their return for one of the strongest elite fields in the race’s 37 year history.
But Kenya and Japan are but two of the enormous number of countries expected to be represented. In 2014, entrants covered 67 different nationalities with more than 3000 participants coming from overseas.
To add to the event’s global flavour, the global television reach of the event resulted in more than one thousand hours of air time with a potential audience of 755 million households across 86 countries.
Last month the event’s CEO Cameron Hart announced a stellar cast for both the men’s and women’s marathons which will create an even greater appeal for the internationally-renowned event.
Limo last year broke Rob de Castella’s long-standing Australian All Comers Record when he clocked 2:09:14 for victory at the Gold Coast. Remarkably, it was also his marathon debut. Limo’s performance rewrote the record books for the fastest time in Australia ever over the 42.195km distance.
Kawauchi finished third behind Limo in a creditable 2:11:27 after a spectacular mid-race fall cost him valuable time and momentum and ultimately ended his chances for the win.
Adding even more spice to a showdown this year, Kawauchi with a personal best a full minute faster than Limo, won the race in 2013 in 2:10:01, an equal race record that stood for 12 months until Limo came along and bettered the mark.
Cameron Hart announced more than 20 international elite runners though, and that was seven weeks out from the event. He said that the confirmation of those elite runners was a significant development for the event and consolidates its status as Australia’s leading marathon.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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 Yukiko Akaba in 2013 within their sights.
Confirmed International Elite Field
Silah Limo (KEN) 2:09:14
Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:08:14
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
Ryo Yamamoto (JPN) 2:08:44
Samuel Woldeamanuel (ETH) 2:08:45
Dereje Tadesse Raya (ETH) 2:08:46
Dominic Kimwetich (KEN) 2:09:36
Tewelde Estifanos Hidru (ERI) 2:10:18
Wirimai Juwawo (ZIM) 2:12:38
Shigeki Tsuji (JPN) 2:13:41
Tomonori Sakamoto (JPN) 2:13:49
Yoshinori Sugimoto (JPN) 2:14:11
Saeki Makino (JPN) 2:17:59
Olena Shurkhno (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
Riona Ishimoto (JPN) 2:38:26
Fumiko Hashimoto (JPN) Debut
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July and is expected to attract 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities across a number of events. More at goldcoastmarathon.com.au