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Top Japanese Elite Runners Announced for 39th Gold Coast Airport Marathon

A Gold Coast Airport Marathon press release. JRN will be on-hand at GCAM as part of its official broadcast commentary crew.

Two previous winners Yuki Kawauchi and Risa Takenaka will lead a strong Japanese charge at the 39th Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday 2 July.

A flat and fast course will provide the stage for this IAAF Road Race Gold Label event with one of the strongest elite fields ever assembled to fight out the 42.195km race. One of the most popular runners in world athletics Kawauchi, 30, will return to the scene of his epic runner up finish last year behind Kenneth Mungara of Kenya. The two will do battle once again with Kawauchi hoping he can win this coveted race once again as he did in 2013.

Takenaka had a breakout year in 2015 with a win on the Gold Coast and setting her personal best of 2:28:09 in Nagoya. The 27-year-old will be attempting to continue the stranglehold that Japanese runners have had on the women’s race with a total of 14 winners including the past five.

In the men’s race, Japan will have a very strong contingent of runners with Kawauchi joined by sub-2:13 marathon runners Chiharu Takada, Takuya Noguchi, Ryo Hashimoto, Shoya Osaki and Takuya Suzuki. Takada placed fourth in last year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon in 2:10:43 so will have the benefit of experience, while Noguchi has recorded a personal best of 2:11:04 already this year in Tokyo so will come with strong form.

In the women’s race, Takenaka will be joined by Misaki Kato, Azusa Nojiri, Sakie Ishibashi, Hirono Shintate and Azusa Nojiri, with Kato a strong chance of a podium finish with a personal best of 2:31:04 set last year in Osaka.

As part of a sister marathon arrangement, two placegetters at last year’s Kobe Marathon in Japan were invited to run in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon with Shintate taking up the opportunity in the women’s race and Yuki Yagi in the men’s race.

Events Management Queensland CEO Cameron Hart said he was delighted to announce another strong and deep Japanese elite field in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. “The Gold Coast Airport Marathon has such a strong reputation in Japan and continues to attract quality elite runners as well as thousands of holiday runners,” Mr Hart said. “It is wonderful that Kawauchi is returning for his sixth consecutive Gold Coast Airport Marathon before going on to contest the marathon at the World Championships in London in August. Our 2015 winner Takenaka and last year’s fourth placegetter Takada are also returning and we look forward to welcoming many newcomers to the Gold Coast who will all be striving for personal best times and some for the podium.”

Elite Japanese Men
Yuki Kawauchi PB: 2:08:14 – Seoul, 2013
Chiharu Takada PB: 2:10:03 - Fukuoka, 2014
Takuya Noguchi PB: 2:11:04 - Tokyo, 2017
Ryo Hashimoto PB: 2:11:20 - Hofu, 2016
Shoya Osaki PB: 2:12:07 - Otsu, 2017
Takuya Suzuki PB: 2:12:08 - Oita, 2017
Takafumi Kikuchi PB: 2:15:06 - Sapporo, 2016
Yuki Yagi PB: 2:24:30 – Kobe, 2016
Yuta Takahashi PB: debut marathon (1:02:13 half marathon – 2015)

Elite Japanese Women
Azusa Nojiri PB: 2:24:57 – Osaka, 2012
Risa Takenaka PB: 2:28:09 – Nagoya, 2015
Misaki Kato PB: 2:31:04 – Osaka, 2016
Sakie Ishibashi PB: 2:41:27 – Tsuchiura, 2015
Hirono Shintate PB: 2:42:55 – Kobe, 2016

photos © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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