Tag Archives: Miharu Shimokado

Jebitok smashes the Gold Coast Women Marathon course record

Kenya’s Ruth Jebitok smashed the course record at the 40th edition of the Gold Coast Marathon that was held on Sunday (1) in Gold Coast, Australia.

The 2018 Barcelona Marathon winner, Chebitok battled for honors with the race favorite Agnes Barsosio and Jessica Trengove of Australia.

Despite the extremely high humidity, Chebitok kept the race moving just under 2:25 pace the entire way, at times talking to the male pacers to get them to stay on track. The lead group paced the half way mark in 1:12.15.

Chebitok slowed at the same point in the women’s race at 35km, but by that point she had the win in her keeping, with a margin of 1:26 to Trengove who, in turn, was almost 50 seconds ahead.

The 27 year-old held on and went ahead to smash the course record and also a personal best cutting the tape in new course record of 2:24.49 erasing the last year’s edition course record of 2:25.34 that was set by Ethiopia Abebech Bekele.

Trengove took second place beating Barsosio to third when she crossed the line in a personal best of 2:26.31 with the later closing the podium three place in 2:27.46.

Japanese Miharu Shimokado took fourth while Australia’s Celia Sullohern fifth in 2:29.38 and 2:30.19 respectively.

LEADING RESULTS
WOMEN

  1. Ruth Chebitok        (KEN)  2:24.49
  2. Jessica Trengove     (AUS)  2:26.31
  3. Agnes Barsosio        (KEN)  2:27.46
  4. Miharu Shimokado (JPN) 2:29.38
  5. Celia Sullohern        (AUS) 2:30.19

Out of the freezer, Into the frying Pan for Kawauchi at Gold Coast Marathon

A couple of months ago, as marathoners in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games marathons battled sweltering conditions, Yuki Kawauchi ran to his first World Marathon Majors victory in Boston in wet, windy and freezing conditions.

This Sunday (1 July), Kawauchi is likely to face the rain again as he competes in the 40th edition of the Gold Coast marathon, an IAAF Gold Label event. But where runners experienced biting winds and slippery roads in Boston, mild and relatively still weather is forecast for race morning. It will be warm – with the temperature tipped to rise to just over 20C – but nothing like as hot as the Commonwealth marathoners experienced.

Kawauchi will be competing in his seventh straight Gold Coast marathon and chasing his second victory. His only win came in 2013, but he has three more podium finishes and has never finished outside the top eight.

Kawauchi will need to be on his A-game, however, as two other recent winners are in this year’s line-up – last year’s victor, Takuya Noguchi and race record holder and two-time winner Kenneth Mungara. Actually, there are at least five former winners starting in this 40th edition of the race – Eric Sigmont, winner of the inaugural race in 1979, and 1990 Commonwealth Games 5000 metres champion Andrew Lloyd, who won in 1980, are also in the field.

Takuya Noguchi prevails at the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon (organisers) © Copyright

 The women’s Gold Coast race offers the possibility of a home victory with two of Australia’s best distance performers at the Gold Coast Games among the chances. Jess Trengove was bronze medallist in the marathon and Celia Sullohern challenged for the medals in the 5000 and 10,000 metres. It probably reflects a pleasing internationalization of the race, but no Australian has won since Lauren Shelley took the women’s race in 2009 and no male Australian since Lee Troop in 2006.

Trengove has a best time of 2:27:01 in London last year and followed that up with ninth place in the London 2017 world championships. Sullohern finished sixth in last year’s Gold Coast race, slashing 20 minutes off her only previous performance, and then ran 2:29:27 to win the Melbourne marathon last November.

Abebech Afework, who set a race record 2:25:34 last year, is not back to defend her title. Fastest woman in the field is Agnes Barsosio (also known as Agnes Jeruto Kiprotich) with a 2:20:59 in Paris last year. Her recent form is solid, albeit less impressive, with a 1:11:00 half-marathon in Gothenburg in May. Ruth Jebitok, with a 2:25:49 from Barcelona this year, may stand a better chance of registering the first Kenyan women’s victory on the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast race has been supported by many top Japanese runners over its history. The prodigious Kawauchi may be the highest-profile Japanese runner, but it is the women who have notched more race victories. Afework’s win in 2017 broke a run of five consecutive Japanese wins. Fastest Japanese entrant this year is Ayaka Fuijimoto (2:27:08 in Tokyo last year), followed by Miharu Shimokado (2:27:54 in Nagoya last year) and Mae Uesugi (2:31:49 in this year’s Tokyo race).

 Turning to the men’s race, the 44-year-old Mungara may feel the Gold Coast owes him a change of luck. He won in 2015 and 2016, the former in the race record and world 40-plus record of 2:08:42, and was thwarted in his bid for a hat-trick when Noguchi beat him narrowly last year in 2:08:59. Helped, no doubt, by his Gold Coast experience, he was selected for Kenya’s Commonwealth Games team but was one of those who wilted in the heat, finishing 10th in 2:25:42. His only other marathon for this year was a 2:13 in Hong Kong in January.

Fastest man on paper is Philip Sanga Kimutai, whose best of 2:06:07 dates back to 2011. He ran under 2:07 in each of the following two years and, while not as fast since, has run 2:10:07 or faster in three of the past four years. If time is passing him by, it is in no hurry.

Douglas Chebii and Michael Githae also will bear close watching. Chebii ran 2:08:43 earlier this year in Seville and Githae 2:09:21 in Lake Biwa. At 24 and 23, respectively, both are approaching their prime racing years.

Both the marathon and associated half-marathon are Oceania area championship races.

Trengove and Sullohern stand out as the top two contenders for the women’s marathon title with a big edge on times over any other entrant. The men’s race is a lot more open. Last year’s winner, Dave Ridley of New Zealand, is defending his title, but fastest Oceania man in the field is 40-year-old David Criniti of Australia (2:17:57), followed by London 2017 representative Jack Colreavy (2:18:32).

Collis Birmingham, Liam Adams and Dejen Gebreselassie should fight out the men’s half-marathon championship, though Jack Rayner is capable of a fast time based on his performances at shorter road distances.

Last year’s winner, Sara Hall, is back. As an American, Hall is not eligible for the Oceania title, nor is the other sub-1:10 entrant, Japan’s Hanae Tanaka. Laura Thweatt of the US, Sinead Diver and Ellie Pashley are next fastest, with the latter pair looking to have the Oceania title between them,

Aiyabei to battle Cheyech at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon

Sub-2:22 runners Valary Jemeli Aiyabei and Flomena Cheyech will face off at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (11).

The race, this year celebrating its 37th edition, is the largest women’s-only marathon in the world, with a capacity exceeding 22,000 runners. The main focus will however fall on the Kenyan pair who bring strong marathon momentum to the start line.

Aiyabei is the fastest in the field of 17 invitees, with a personal best of 2:20:53 recorded at the Berlin Marathon last September where she finished third. Prior to that appearance in the German capital, Aiyabei won four straight marathons: Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague. Notably, the 26-year-old has also improved her lifetime best in each of her last four races, from Barcelona to Berlin. Her half marathon lifetime best of 1:07:50 also came in 2017 with her victory at the Prague Half Marathon.

Her main challenger is Cheyech, whose marathon best of 2:21:22 was set at the 2017 Paris Marathon where she too finished third. The 35-year-old followed up that performance with a fourth place finish at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. More recently Cheyech, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, won the Saitama Marathon in November and paced January’s Osaka Women’s Marathon through the midway point in 1:12:02. Cheyech’s half marathon best is 1:07:39, faster than Aiyabei’s.

The course record is 2:21:17 set by Eunice Kirwa last year.

Other contenders from abroad include Merima Mohammed of Bahrain, who has a marathon personal best of 2:23:06 from 2010 and Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa, who clocked 2:24:18 at the 2017 Rotterdam Marathon. Assefa ran two 2:24 marathons in 2017 so could be a threat to the favourites. Karolina Nadolska of Poland, with a personal best of 2:26:31, and Italy’s Sara Dossena with a lifetime best of 2:29:39 round out the international field.

For Japanese runners, the race also doubles as a qualifying race for both the 2018 Asian Games marathon team and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon team trials. After three qualifying races for the latter, only three women have thus far qualified, quite a contrast with the men’s side in which 13 have already earned their spots for the Olympic team trials race. In Nagoya, up to six runners can earn qualification: the top three, if they finish under 2:28, as well as those who finish fourth to sixth provided they ran under 2:27.

The fastest Japanese in the field is Sairi Maeda who finished second in Nagoya in 2015 with 2:22:48. She was 13th at the 2015 World Championships. Other contenders include Rei Ohara with a best of 2:23:20 recorded in this race in 2016, Mao Kiyota who clocked 2:23:47 here last year, and Reia Iwade whose best of 2:24:38 came in Nagoya in 2016. Kiyota was 16th at last year’s World Championships.

Others vying for a top-six finish include Shiho Takechi, with a best of 2:25:29; Hanae Tanaka, who’s clocked 2:26:19; Michi Numata, with a lifetime best of 2:27:27; Miharu Shimokado, with a 2:27:54 personal best: Misaki Kato, who’s clocked 2:28:12; and Keiko Nogami, with 2:28:19. Among the ten Japanese runners invited, eight have set their marathon bests in Nagoya.

The most intrigue runner in the field is Hanami Sekine who will be making her marathon debut. The 22-year-old has track bests of 15:24.74 and 31:22.92 over 5000m and 10,000m, but has never raced farther than 11km. The fastest marathon debut time by a Japanese is 2:21:36 set by Yuka Ando in Nagoya last year.