Takuya Noguchi and Abebech Bekele Win 2017 Gold Coast Airport Marathon

The 2017 edition of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon took place last Sunday 2 July.

Winning the Men’s Marathon title was Takuya Noguchi, 29, from Japan, spectacularly denying Kenyan Kenneth Mungara his third consecutive victory. This had been on the Japanese runner’s 29th birthday.

Takuya Noguchi

Said Noguchi “It is my time to win. I’m so happy and today is my birthday.”

In scenes eerily reminiscent of last year’s photo finish over the final stages of the race with last year’s runner up and 2013 winner Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, the race record holder Mungara and Noguchi were inseparable and occasionally bumping into each other over the final two kilometres of the race.

But this time, when Mungara had went to his now characteristic lead inside the last 500m, Noguchi was having none of it and found a kick that rocketed the birthday boy over the finish line in 2 hours 8 minutes 59 seconds.

Said Noguchi “The last five kilometres was really hard. I knew Kenneth and if you have come this far, you are all in and I just went for the win. I knew that move, the big moves and it was pretty scary. I just had to knuckle down and do it and I came back.”

He added “I knew it was a flat course and the results in the past have been conducive to what my goals are and for breaking my personal best. It is very beautiful and so nice.”

Mungara however was disappointed that he had failed to make it three out of three. But he remained gracious towards the Japanese victor. He said “it was a good finish and I did not see it coming. Someone came from behind to win.”

He added “I increased my work in preparation for this year. Next time I will try hard to finish, finishing was very hard. My finish was very bad, very poor.”

Mungara had finished in 2hours 9 minutes and 4 seconds.

Kawauchi, who had finished in third place, was also visibly disappointed with his performance. He said “I could not reach my target. I was going for first place. It’s a bit disappointing but overall I am happy with the race.”

He continued “I had wanted to reach at least third place at the beginning but at 30km, I changed my mind and wanted the first, but after 36km, I decided my best tactic was to just target my time. I could not win the race and I was second among the Japanese runners, but I managed to reach my goal to go under 2:10 hours and make a top three finish so I think I had a good race towards the world championships in London.”

Kawauchi’s time was 2 hours 9 Minutes 18 seconds.

He said “I am not really satisfied with this race, but I am happy and I did enjoy the race and will definitely come back again next year.”


Taking the title in the women’s marathon was Abebech Bekele from Ethiopia with a winning course record time of 2 hours 25 minutes 34 seconds. Her time slashes a massive one minute and six seconds off the race record previously set by Japan’s Misato Horie last year and nets her a cool AUD$30,000 in prize money for her efforts.

Bekele, at the same time, also recorded the fourth fastest time by a woman runner on Australian soil, and was only behind the times set at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games place getters.

Said Bekele “I prepared myself really well to win this race and I am really happy and glad with the win today. I thought I could win at about 20km and the conditions were good. I am strong and felt good about the whole race. But I had done a lot of training and hard work to make it happen.”

She added “next up I will continue to train hard for the rest of the year and I am looking to break around 2 hours and 20 to 21 minutes, in the future.”

She had finished well ahead of second placed winner Mercy Kibarua, 33, who recorded a time of 2 hours 28 minutes 28 second and third placed winner Risa Takenaka in 2 hours 28 minutes 32 seconds.

Kibarua was a bit disappointed at not making the course record. She said “I came to the Gold Coast hoping to beat the course record but I just missed out which is a big disappointment after going so close.”

She added “But I am pleased to be here and I always enjoy racing on this course. I will just have to come back next year and try to break the record then instead.”

Takenaka, however, was happy to have made the podium. She explained, “My preparation was not perfect. I didn’t come here with the best training behind me. I tried to run at a controlled pace and then move up over the second half of the race.”

She continued “There were a lot of things I was worried about at the start, like getting to the starting line in one piece. So not  being completely confident at the start and still making the podium makes me very happy.”


Hirohito Yamagishi

In the ASICS Half Marathon, taking the Men’s title was Japanese Hirohito Yamagishi, 26 and American Sara Hall, 34. Both had clocked stunning all-the-way victories.

Yamagishi completed the race in 1 hour 3 minutes 14 seconds, a 35 seconds victory against second place Liam Adams from Victoria, Australia, with 1 hour 3 minutes 49 seconds.

Said Yamagishi “I took a lead at about 10km and was on my own and I thought, ok I’m feeling ok, if I keep going like this, I’ve got it. I don’t have many opportunities to race outside Japan so I came to the Gold Coast. Coming overseas, I really just wanted to run a good race and target not just the win here, but for my future development.”

He added “Gold Coast was a really beautiful place to run. When the sun came up, the view was beautiful and there was a lot of support from other runners and as such, it was a great place to run.”

Adams was a little disappointed at not clinching the win. He said “I am a little disappointed. I would have liked to get closer to my personal best, but training has been terrible recently and that just showed. I probably went through the first 10km a bit too quick, I kind of knew that I wasn’t in that good shape and I was pushing over the edge a little bit. I kind of knew that I was going to blow up”

He added “I am kind of in between Seasons, like there is no purpose to training, I am trying to build into a marathon and that does not help when you have a result like that.”

Adams is building towards the Berlin Marathon in September.

Sara Hall

Hall’s winning time in the women’s ASICS Half Marathon was 1 hour 10 minutes 32 seconds. She said “I’m so happy to b back here, this is one of my favourite races I’ve ever done. You can’t beat the conditions and the course out here, it’s just perfect. Especially in July when the United States is boiling hot, this is the place to be.”

She added “It was a funny race. I just came from Ethiopia where I was training for three weeks, two of those weeks I was sick with food and water issues so I didn’t know what to expect coming out here. I was a bit like, this could be bad but you know, I was on the starting line and said to myself, let’s just go out there and do it and go for a personal best because you don’t get days like this too often. So I went out at personal best pace and I didn’t quite hold it at the end, but I’m really happy with the win.”


Taking out the title in the Wheelchair Marathon was Norway born Australian Richard Coleman, finishing in 1 hour 46 minutes 15 seconds. He was well ahead of fellow Australian Richard Nicholson who had finished in second place in 1 hour 47 minutes 6 seconds.

Coleman said “I worked pretty hard today. The first 10-15km I thought, why is this hurting so much? Then all of a sudden at 28km, I thought, I’m feeling good. I pushed the pace for the next 10-15km after that at the little bridge at the 38km mark, I pulled away from Richard.”


Eloise Wellings

And for the Southern Cross University 10km Run, Eloise Wellings from New South Wales and Timothy Lefroy from the Australian Capital Territory emerged as the winners.

In the women’s race, Wellings had clocked the second fastest ever women’s time in 32:55 minutes, over the Gold Coast 10km, behind Lisa-Jane Weightman’s 2012 record of 32:17 minutes.

Said Wellings on her victory, “I am really happy with that race.”

“It is only my second race in seven months because I’ve been battling injury, but in the last month or two I’ve started to come good again, which is a really positive sign going into the [London IAAF] world championships. I have great memories of being up here with my family and they put on such a great event here, which attracts so many of my amazing friends and training partners,” she continued.

And in the men’s event, Lefroy made it a hard-fought hat trick after a frenetic three-way sprint to the finish with eventual third place-getter Louis McAfee from Queensland. Leroy had finished his run in 29:48 minutes. Lefroy had racked up a massive negative split, running the first 5km in 15:08 and the last in 14:39.

Said Lefroy on his victory, “I’m moving over to the UK, so I really wanted to finish on a good note. I ran a personal best about two weeks ago so I wasn’t so fast with the time. I just knew I was going to be in the hunt for a spot on the podium. Anywhere on the podium I would have been happy, so I was lucky to come away with the win, I think.”


And Saturday’s Zespri 4km Junior Dash targeted at the junior runners, young Queensland runners dominated. Jaxon Paterson-Wright had recorded a stunning time of 12:36 minutes in a 40 second victory over second placed Lachlan Cornelius in the Boys category.

His time had been just seven seconds outside the race record set by Riley Cocks in the year 2010.

Said Jaxon on his win, “”On the way back, it was a bit windy, but it was all right. This year was a bit harder than last year, but I feel like I did better this year. I love running on the Gold Coast. With the beach on your right, looking at all the high rises on your left, it’s awesome – and it’s a fast flat course, which is good.”

He is a little disappointed that he had come so near, yet so far from the race record though. Said Jaxon, “”Definitely the goal was the record (12.29). I was eyeing it off last year. I was 10 seconds off it last year but I thought with a bit of training I could get it but I was just off today.”

Taking the Girls 4km category in the Zespri Junior Dash was Chloe Randall from Queensland, who recorded a winning time of 14:22 minutes, and just one second ahead of Emily Witt who was in second place.

On her win, she said, “The first half of the race felt pretty easy, but as we turned the corner for the 250m mark I started sprinting and kept looking over my shoulder to make sure I was in the lead. At the end I got really tired, but knew that I just had to keep pushing myself to make it over the finish line and win.”


Here are the full results for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.


Takuya Noguchi and Risa Takenaka.

Men: Takuya Noguchi (JPN) 2h08m59s 1, Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2h09m04s 2, Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2h09m18s 3, Ryo Hashimoto (JPN) 2h10m19s 4, Jonah Chesum (KEN) 2h10m47s 5, Shoya Osaki (JPN) 2h11m03s 6, Chiharu Takada (JPN) 2h11m25s 7, Tewelde Estifanos Hidru (ERI) 2h13m38s 8, Takafumi Kikuchi (JPN) 2h14m34s 9, Takuya Suzuki (JPN) 2h15m44s 10.

Women: Abebech Bekele (ETH) 2h25m34s 1, Mercy Kibarus (KEN) 2h28m28s 2, Risa Takenaka (JPN) 2h28m32s 3, Elizeba Cherono (NED) 2h29m7s 4, Virginia Moloney (VIC) 2h29m14s 5, Celia Sullohern (NSW) 2h34m38 6, Mary Davies (NZL) 2h36m19s 7, Marnie Ponton (NSW) 2h40m32s 8, Victoria Beck (QLD) 2h42m1s 9, Azusa Nogiri (JPN) 2h44m35s 10.


Men: Hiroki Yamagishi (JPN) 1h03m14s 1, Liam Adams (VIC) 1h03m49s 2, Dejen Gebreselassie (VIC) 1h04m12s 3, Koji Gokaya (JPN) 1h04m29s 4, Nick Earl (VIC) 1h04m52s 5, Josh Harris (TAS) 1h04m55s 6, Jack Colreavy (NSW) 1h04m57s 7, Isaias Beyn (QLD) 1h04m57s 8, Aaron Pulford (NZL) 1h05m35s 9, Caden Shields (NZL) 1h05m42s 10.

Women: Sara Hall (USA) 1m10m32s 1, Milly Clark (NSW) 1h11m15s 2, Jessica Trengove (SA) 1h11m36s 3, Desiree Linden (USA) 1h12m17s 4, Cassandra Fien (QLD) 1h13m20s 5, Ellie Pashley (VIC) 1h13m47s 6, Tennille Ellis (QLD) 1h15m13s 7, Mizuki Tanimoto (JPN) 1h15m51s 8, Jules Bennett (WA) 1h18m06s 9, Sophie Ryan (VIC) 1h18m19s 10.


Men: Richard Colman (VIC) 1h46m15 1, Richard Nicholson (ACT) 1h47m6 2, Campbell Message (VIC) 1h59m11 3, Jason McGregor (QLD) 2h28m11s 4, Ali Badday (IRQ) 3h24m20s 5.

Women: Sara Tait (QLD) 2h35m19s 1.


Men: Timothy Lefroy (ACT) 29m48s 1, Matthew Hudson (NSW) 29m49s 2, Louis McAfee (QLD) 29m50s 3, Adrian Potter (SA) 30m05s 4, Ed Goddard (NSW) 30m17s 5, Guy Walters (NSW) 30m23s 6, Michael Marantelli (VIC) 30m24s 7, Max Stevens (SA) 30m28s 8, Matthew Clarke (VIC) 30m48s 9, Matthew Carlsson (WA) 30m54s 10.

Women: Eloise Wellings (NSW) 32m55s 1, Alexandra Paterson (VIC) 33m10s 2, Laura Nagel (NZL) 34m25s 3, Tara Palm (SA) 34m44s 4, Brittany Zendler (QLD) 34m59s 5, Henrietta Lawrence (VIC) 35m28s 6, Katie Gamble (VIC) 35m47s 7, Brie Thomas (QLD) 35m51s 8, Anna E Fitzgerald (NSW) 35m51s 9, Gemma Maini (VIC) 35m55s 10.

The Star Gold Coast 5.7km Challenge

Men: Cody Shanahan (VIC) 17m19s 1, Lachlan Jones (QLD) 18m13s 2, Robert Swoboda (QLD) 18m14s 3, David Pinto (QLD) 18m35s 4, Max Whiteoak (QLD) 18m36s 5, Jayden Little (QLD) 18m41s 6, Kirk Shanahan 19m00s (VIC) 7, Jacob Allmaras (QLD) 19m09s 8, Blake Hudson (QLD) 19m11s 9, Corey Thornton (QLD) 19m13s 10.

Women: Courtney Scott (VIC) 20m08s 1, Amber Johnson (USA) 20m16s 2, Jamie McIver (NSW) 20m44s 3, Hannah Corson (QLD) 20m54s 4, Ebony Dodemaide (VIC) 21m07s 5, Maighan Brown (QLD) 21m43s 6, Alexandra Stevens (QLD) 21m46s 7, Brittany Donovan (QLD) 21m55s 8, Leah Simpson (QLD) 22m07s 9, Annabel White (QLD) 22m17s 10.

Zespri 4km Junior Dash 

Boys: Jaxon Paterson-Wright (QLD) 12m37s 1, Lachlan Cornelius (QLD) 13m17s 2, Harrison Turner (QLD) 13m46s 3, Samuel Heeremans (QLD) 13m47s 4, Leigh Vesey (QLD) 13m53s 5, Flynn Pumpa (QLD) 13m55s 6, Max Hooper (QLD) 13m56s (VIC) 7,Will Cooper (NSW) 13m59s 8, Charlie Randall (QLD) 14m09s 9, Oscar Cornelius (QLD) 14m16s 10.

Girls: Chloe Randall (QLD) 14m23s 1, Emily Witt (QLD) 14m21s 2, Mia White 14m29s 3, Jayda Anderson 14m57s 4, Kloe Lockhart 14m54s 5, Kali Byres 14m57s 6, Hayley Kitching 15m09s 7, Trista Hockey 15m15s 8,  Caitlyn Morse 15m17s 9, Bridget McCormack 15m23s 10.

Zespri 2km Junior Dash

Boys: Matthew Lowe (QLD) 6m53s 1, Dylan Smith (QLD) 7m01s 2, Caiden Macfarlane (QLD) 7m19s 3, Matthew McLachlan (NSW) 7m19s 4, Kody Hockey (QLD) 7m30s 5, Cooper Bagley (QLD) 7m46s 6, Casper Oliver (QLD) 7m48s 7, Howie Eastwood (NSW) 7m53s 8, William Dennis (QLD) 8m05s 9, Ethan Sneyders (VIC) 8m07s 10.

Girls: Kyah Anderson (QLD) 6m58s 1, Gemma Hooper (QLD) 7m19s 2, Misaki Kishimoto (JPN) 7m28s 3, Monica Heeremans (QLD) 7m50s 4, Gracie Turner (QLD) 7m50s 5, Ella Knox (QLD) 7m54s 6, Jorja Lockhart (QLD) 7m56s 7, Brogan Tomich (QLD) 7m57s 8, Grace Campbell (QLD) 8m26s 9, Penelope Gill (NSW) 8m32s 10.

Other GCAM17 Blog Posts

GCAM17 Race Review (42.195km)

Garmin Legends Lunch @ GCAM 17

Run Tips from Yuki Kawauchi & Kenneth Mungara

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