A massive community of seasoned and rookie runners of all ages and fitness levels shared on thing in common: an exhilarating good time at the 37th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
More than 11,000 people took part across all races on Saturday, 4 July 2015, including the Southern Cross University 10 km Run, Junior Dash races and the Suncorp Bank 5.7 km Challenge. Together with Wheelchair 15 km athletes, another 16,000 runners took on the 42.195 km Gold Coast Airport Marathon and ASICS Half Marathon the next day on Sunday, 5 July 2015.
Southern Cross University 10km Run
In Gold Coast’s windless, crisp and cloudless conditions, Australian Capital Territory’s Martin Dent produced an age-defying sprint to the line to win Saturday morning’s 10 km race. The 36-year-old London 2012 Olympic Games marathoner and two-time ASICS Half Marathon winner displayed fine adaptation to the shorter distance to take the win in 29:26.
After a two-man breakaway at the seven kilometre mark, Dent was hard pressed to generate something special over the final 300 metres to defeat New Zealander Malcolm Hicks, who finished just two seconds behind in 29:28. New South Wales runner Jordan Gusman followed closely in 29:59. Dent said he knew he had a chance of winning a kilometre from the finishing line.
That was when I realised I had the potential to win it. I thought I’d give it a crack and push as hard as I could and it paid off. I didn’t want to leave it to the last 100m to try and win it.
—Martin Dent, South Cross University 10 km Run 2015 Men's Open winner
The women’s event also showed some great racing, won by Sydneysider Victoria Mitchell, 33-year-old Beijing Olympic and Melbourne Commonwealth Games 3000 m steeplechase representative. Taming the flat Gold Coast course in an impressive 32:59, the late entry participant relegated Victorian 2014 Commonwealth Games marathoner Sarah Klein (33:15) and last year’s Southern Cross University 10 km Run winner NSW’s Bridey Delaney (33:49) to the minor places.
The atmosphere here is brilliant. Everyone’s lined up along the course for the last kilometre and also on the way out you get the crowd, so it’s awesome.
—Victoria Mitchell, South Cross University 10 km Run 2015 Women's Open winner
Happy with her hurriedly devised race strategy, the strong, first place runner even hit a new PB. Without much time to bask in her victory, she will be heading to more races in Finland this week, in preparation of the 3000 m steeplechase at the World Championships in Beijing in August.
4km & 2km Junior Dash
Remember the name Chekole Getenet. He's the Brisbane-based Ethiopian refugee who showed the field a clean set of heels in the 4km Junior Dash at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. Coming in with an attention-grabbing 12:39, Getenet defeated local runner Lachlan Jones and Brisbane’s Jaxon Paterson-Wright by 30 and 39 seconds respectively.
It’s apparent the running career of the 14-year-old John Paul College student is on a well-planned trajectory. His sights are firmly set on competing in the 2017 World Youth Championships in Kenya, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and ultimately the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In a case of running déjà vu, the podium positions in the girl’s 4km Junior Dash were the same as last year. Carindale’s Katrina Robinson (13:28) took the spoils again ahead of Mackenzey Ormiston (14:11) from Tweed Heads and Cara Jardine from Samford Valley (14:17).
Robinson’s win was doubly stunning as she finished fourth overall in the 669-strong combined boy’s and girl’s field, becoming a dual winner of the event.
More than 1,800 kids lined up on the start lines across both 4 km and 2 km Junior Dash races on Saturday.
Gold Coast Airport Marathon
The obliteration of the men’s race record by a 41-year-old in a Kenyan clean sweep and Japanese women taking the first five places in the women’s event were highlights of Sunday's 37th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon in beautiful running conditions.
Former barber Kenneth Mungara from Kenya gave the race record a crew cut by running 2:08:42 and shaving 32 seconds off the 2:09:14 set last year by countryman Silah Limo, who finished this race in second place with a PB of 2:08:54. They were joined on the podium by fellow Kenyan, Evans Ruto, who also ran under the previous race record in 2:08:55.
Not to be outdone in the clean sweep stakes, Japan’s diminutive trio of Risa Takenaka (2:28:25), Keiko Nogami (2:29:34) and Manami Kamitanida (2:33:43) were the first three to cross the line in the women’s event. Two other Japanese runners, Shoko Shimizu and Fumiko Hashimoto, weren’t far behind in fourth and fifth place respectively. Bilambil Heights athlete Bill Chaffey took out the full distance wheelchair marathon title from two-time winner Richard Nicholson.
But it was a win for the ages when Mungara, who started marathon running at 33, also broke the Australian All Comers record and his own Masters 40+ world record by a second.
As I was finishing, I saw the time and thought ‘I have to get it’ and I kept going.
I know I can go faster again in the future and will keep training hard. When you run at this age, you have to plan ahead and keep working.
—Kenneth Mungara, Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2015 Male Category Winner
Takenaka’s one minute, nine second win was the second fastest women’s time recorded on the Gold Coast course behind the 2:27:17 set by countrywoman Yukiko Akaba in 2013.
I want to thank the pacemaker who did a very good job so I was able to run relaxed. I was aiming for a little faster time, so I’m slightly disappointed, but I am happy with winning.
The views from the course are beautiful and I enjoyed it. It is a beautiful course with a lovely seaside – it’s very enjoyable to run here.
—Risa Takenaka, Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2015 Female Category Winner
In all, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon feature race attracted a record 6,118 entries this year.
ASICS Half Marathon
New South Wales speed machine Eloise Wellings made it three wins from her three starts over the half marathon distance this morning when she was an emphatic winner of the ASICS Half Marathon at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon event.
Her maiden Gold Coast win in 1:10:10 inflicted an Independence Day (American time) defeat on USA’s Sara Hall (1:10:49) while Queenslander Cassie Fien, who set a 17 second personal best with her time of 1:11:28, was third.
South Australia’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games marathoner Jessica Trengove lunged at the line to finish three seconds behind Fein, declaring she had “never tried this hard at the end of a race”.
This sort of course definitely suits me, so I feel like I had some sort of advantage there today.
It definitely wasn’t easy, but I’m just so happy to have the win and it’s a real confidence booster before the (2015) world championships.
There is so much energy and atmosphere. The Gold Coast is a bit of a party town. It’s a lot of fun coming here and it was great having the men in the same race.
—Eloise Wellings, ASICS Half Marathon 2015 Women's Winner
In the men’s race, Japan’s Takehiro Deki put daylight between himself and the rest of the field to win the ASICS Half Marathon in made to order running conditions on the Gold Coast.
The top ranked 25-year-old marathon specialist bettered his personal best time over the shorter distance by a minute, recording 1:02:11 to beat Victoria’s Liam Adams (1:03:29) by over a minute and the UK’s Ben Moreau (1:04:32) by over two minutes.
Deki said he was happy with his result as he eyes an Olympic ambition.
This is the first time I have seriously gone for a half marathon time.
... I’m not much of a track runner, I’m more of a road specialist, so I wanted to run a good road race, and this time of year there really aren’t many road races as good as this.
10,150 half marathon entrants flagged off in picture perfect Gold Coast conditions on Sunday morning.
This article is adapted from Gold Coast Airport Marathon's news coverage. For more information, visit their official website.
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