Friday 15 June
A top-class women’s field from Kenya, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States will battle for overall and championship honours at the 40th edition Gold Coast Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, to be held on Sunday 1 July.
And the race could create history for runners from Kenya and Australia.
Agness Barsosio and Ruth Chebitok will be striving to become the first Kenyan woman to win the Gold Coast Marathon in its 40-year history.
Meanwhile Australian podium hopes rest with Jessica Trengove and Celia Sullohern, both eager to claim a slice of a special incentive offered by organisers for the 40th edition event.
Any Australian athlete who can run under 2:28:00 (women) and 2:10:00 (men) – never before achieved by an Aussie at the event – will share in a 40,000 AUD prize money pool, with Trengove and Sullohern in the form to do so.
The Kenyan duo, Barsosio and Chebitok, head into the race as the top two seeds chasing the winner’s cheque of 20,000 AUD along with potential time bonus money of up to another 20,000 AUD.
Barsosio has an impressive personal best (PB) of 2:20:59 which she set when second in last year’s Paris Marathon.
The 35-year-old is in good form having placed fifth in the Gothenburg Half Marathon in Sweden last month in 1:11:00.
Her compatriot Chebitok, 27, is also primed to press for top honours having won the Barcelona Marathon in March in her PB of 2:25:49.
Australia is not without a chance of providing its first winner of the women’s race since 2009 when Lauren Shelley was victorious.
Both Trengove and Sullohern are tough racers who won over the hearts of Australians with their performances at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Trengove, the 30-year-old from South Australia, produced a gutsy bronze medal finish in the women’s marathon in warm April conditions.
Last year, Trengove set a PB of 2:27:01 in the London Marathon and then recorded a third placing in the ASICS Half Marathon, her fourth podium in that event on the Gold Coast.
Sullohern also has an affinity with the Gold Coast. Last year, the runner from New South Wales, re-emerged onto the elite scene after serious injury with a breakthrough 2:34:38 sixth placing in the Gold Coast Marathon.
She then bettered this performance with victory in the Melbourne Marathon in a PB of 2:29:27.
The 25-year-old was selected for Australia in the 5000m and 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games, and produced almighty performances to place fifth and sixth respectively.
Japan has produced 14 winners of the Gold Coast Marathon women’s race and will be well represented once again with five of the top 10 seeds.
Ayaka Fujimoto is a young distance running talent on the rise with the 20-year-old setting a PB of 2:27:08when fourth in last year’s prestigious Tokyo Marathon.
Miharu Shimokado is the other runner in the field who has a sub 2:30 marathon. The 28-year-old clocked a PB of 2:27:54 for sixth in last year’s Nagoya Women’s Marathon.
As part of an annual exchange program between the Gold Coast Marathon and Kobe Marathon, the top placed Japanese finisher from last year’s Kobe race, Mizuha Otaru, will also line up.
A number of highly credentialed runners from the USA will make their way to the Gold Coast for the 40thedition event, with Sabina Piras (PB 2:43:23) and Krystalanne Curwood (PB 2:45:04) entered for the women’s marathon aiming for top 10.
The Gold Coast Marathon features a number of championships this year which create a race within a race.
The IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Championship for women is headlined by Australian and New Zealand runners.
Along with Trengove and Sullohern, other Australian runners with podium ambitions in this championship race include Kirsten Molloy, Margie Campbell and Sophie Ryan, who all have marathon PBs under 2:45.
New Zealand’s hopes will be led by Victoria Beck, who set her PB of 2:42:01 in last year’s Gold Coast Marathon, and Alice Mason who also set her PB last year of 2:44:05.
Gold Coast Marathon Top 10 Seeds
- Agness Barsosio (KEN) 2:20:59
- Ruth Chebitok (KEN) 2:25:49
- Jessica Trengove (AUS) 2:27:01
- Ayaka Fujimoto (JPN) 2:27:08
- Miharu Shimokado (JPN) 2:27:54
- Celia Sullohern (AUS) 2:29:27
- Mao Uesugi (JPN) 2:31:49
- Yukari Abe (JPN) 2:35:47
- Mizuha Otaru (JPN) 2:40:41
- Victoria Beck (NZL) 2:42:01
Race record: Abebech Bekele (ETH) – 2:25:34 – 2017
Most wins: 4 – Margaret Reddan (AUS) – 1981, 84-86
Gold Coast Marathon Fastest Performances
Abebech Bekele (ETH) 2:25:34 | 2017
Misato Horie (JPN) 2:26:40 | 2016
Yukiko Akaba (JPN) 2:27:17 | 2013
Gulume Chala (ETH) 2:27:49 | 2016
Risa Takenaka (JPN) 2:28:25 | 2015
Mercy Kibarus (KEN) 2:28:28 | 2017
Risa Takenaka (JPN) 2:28:32 | 2017
Asami Kato (JPN) 2:28:51 | 2014
Elizeba Cherono (NED) 2:29:07 | 2017
Virginia Moloney (AUS) 2:29:14 | 2017
Comments from Jessica Trengove
“With a relatively small window between the Commonwealth Games and the Gold Coast Marathon, my decision to race depended upon a smooth recovery and the ability to absorb another marathon training load.
“Following the Games, I had a couple of weeks to relax and fortunately my body responded positively to my return to training. It is now nice to be able to leverage off the solid base that I had built up for my Commonwealth Games marathon.
“The $40K incentive is a special opportunity for Australian marathoners and has created an exciting buzz around this year’s event.
“My goal for the Gold Coast Marathon is to run a personal best time which is currently 2:27:01.
“Staying healthy and injury free and executing my plan over the next three weeks will be the key to achieving this.”
Comments from Celia Sullohern
“I’ve enjoyed preparing for the Gold Coast Marathon with a lot more longer and slower runs as I had to taper off my kilometres for the shorter track races at the Commonwealth Games.
“My recovery from the Games has gone well. I did some triathlon training on the bike and in the pool to allow my body to recover and then I shifted focus to longer and slower runs.
“The Gold Coast Marathon will be a good indicator of where I am at with my fitness to run another good marathon.
“I honestly don’t know if I can run that 2:28, however a PB would be nice. In my race, it’s important for me to go out fairly quickly to see where I am at, and if I’m in PB shape or better, that would be great.”
Comments from Cameron Hart, Events Management Queensland CEO
“We are thrilled to assemble a women’s marathon field of such elite quality for our special 40th edition of the Gold Coast Marathon.
“Being an established IAAF Gold Label Road Race helps us attract the calibre of athlete that we will see here on Sunday 1 July.
“If the Gold Coast puts on its usual great conditions for running in July, then we could see the race record broken for the third consecutive year.
“I am sure fans will love seeing Jess (Trengove) and Celia (Sullohern) in the marathon after their heroics for Australia at the recent Commonwealth Games. Let’s hope they can produce personal best performances and share in the $40,000 incentive for Aussie athletes to run under 2:28.”
The 40th edition Gold Coast Marathon will feature eight races including the Gold Coast Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Gold Coast Airport Fun Run, Garmin 4km Junior Dash and Garmin 2km Junior Dash.
The Gold Coast Marathon is organised by Events Management Queensland, a major event management company wholly owned by the Queensland Government as part of Tourism and Events Queensland.