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The second fastest Japanese marathon runner in history became the fastest runner in Gold Coast Marathon history when Yuta Shitara won the IAAF Gold Label race in 2:07:50 this morning.
The 27-year-old had an exciting duel with placegetters Barnabus Kiptum of Kenya and Zane Robertson of New Zealand over the final 12km before making his move with 2km remaining.
It was the eighth win by Japanese men in the 41-year history of the event and bettered the race record and Australian all comers record previously held by Kenyan Kenneth Mungara (2:08:42).
Shitara takes home $20,000 in victory prize money and an additional $10,000 time bonus for his record-breaking effort today.
Kiptum, the winner of the Hong Kong Marathon in February, finished second in a personal best 2:08:02, while marathon debutant Robertson placed third in 2:08:19.
It was an extra special result for Robertson as his time was a New Zealand record, bettering the previous mark of his brother Jake (2:08:26, Lake Biwa, 2018), and he was crowned the IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Champion for 2019.
The first Australian across the line was Victorian Liam Adams in sixth place clocking a pb 2:11:36 – a bittersweet result for the 32-year-old as it was an agonising six seconds outside the 2020 Olympic qualification standard.
Dual world champion over 1500m and 5000m on the track Bernard Lagat (USA) improved his marathon pr to 2:12:10 for seventh place, while 2013 race winner Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) placed 13th in 2:15:32.
"It's definitely a confidence builder, and I have had a lot of things to make me confident, but this is a big one heading into the Japanese Olympic trials," said Shitara.
Shitara, who stayed with the lead group of four throughout the race, said although he was not aiming for a particular time or result, the win showed his training had paid off.
“We did a lot of training, and I think that helped," he said in a post-race interview.
Weather conditions on the Gold Coast were less than ideal, with athletes in both the full- and half-marathons battling headwinds and heavy rain.
"Honestly, I'd like to be able to run together with Yuta but I'm still not good enough," Kimura said.
Kenyan Rodah Jepkorir (KEN) held off a strong finishing burst from Tasmanian Milly Clark (AUS/TAS) to take the women’s Gold Coast Marathon.
The 27-year-old broke away from the 30km mark and then lasted to break the tape in 2:27:56, with Clark second (2:28:08) and Eritrea’s Nazret Weldu (ERI) third in 2:28:57.
This year’s eight Gold Coast Marathon races attracted a total of 26,287 entries, including 3,678 overseas competitors, as the event continues to achieve a long-term upward trend.(07/06/2019) ⚡AMP
Well done. 7/10 10:05 pm
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is held annually in one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It is Australia’s premier road race and was the first marathon in the country to hold an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label. The event is held on the first weekend of July and attracts more than...more...