Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara lived to his expectation as he bagged his third gold at the 40th edition of the Gold Coast Marathon that was held on Sunday (1) in Gold Coast, Australia.
Pacers were tasked with running 3:01~3:02/km, and in an unusual scene they split the task between the two ends of that spectrum, the faster taking the Kenyan trio of Philip Sanga, Victor Kipchirchir and Douglas Chebii out front at 2:08-flat pace and the slower 10 seconds back on track for high-2:08. Sanga soon dropped back, leaving Kipchirchir and Chebii to DNF at their convenience.
The course record holder(2:08.42) made an early move to the front, anxious to avoid another sprint finish but tailed by the best kicker in Japan, sub-61 marathoner Kenta Murayama. Takiya Noguchi and Yuki Kawauchi were unable to follow, Kawauchi dropping behind the lead group and Noguchi hanging near its front.
The chase group faded into the distance, but after the final turnaround with just over 5 km to go a runner in black started to come into site. Initially it appeared to be defending champ Noguchi, but as he drew closer it turned out to be relatively unknown 2:15 man Jo Fukuda. To their surprise Fukuda caught the lead pair and went to the front just before 40 km, Murayama briefly trying to follow before running smack into the wall and stopping to vomit.
Mungara caught up and, remembering what happened last year when he misjudged an unknown Japanese runner, launched a long surge from 1 km out.
He held on to cut the tape in 2:09.50 and was closely followed by Murayama who crossed the line in a personal best one second alter.
Fukuda clossed the podium three finishes when he crossed the line in a personal best of 2:09.52.
Mungara needs one more Gold Coast win to tie the record of four wins held by Australian great Pat Carroll.
- Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:09.49
- Kenta Murayama (JPN) 2:09.50
- Jo Fukuda (JPN) 2:09.52
- Takuya Noguchi (JPN) 2:10.15
- Philip Sanga (KEN) 2:11.44