Mungara Over Kawauchi by One Second, Horie Cracks Course Record at Gold Coast Airport Marathon – Brett Larner – Japan Running News
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03
07
2016

Mungara Over Kawauchi by One Second, Horie Cracks Course Record at Gold Coast Airport Marathon ©Organisers

Mungara Over Kawauchi by One Second, Horie Cracks Course Record at Gold Coast Airport Marathon – Brett Larner – Japan Running News

By GRR 0

In the men's marathon, two past champions, 40+ world record holder Kenneth Mungara of Kenya and Japan's indefatigable Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), head to head for the last 12 km of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon

Kawauchi, with big plans for the fall, from the gun up front behind the pacers, never relenting on his front line position.  Mungara, crafty, holding back in the pack of 11, holding back until Kawauchi set off in pursuit of a breakaway pacer just before 30 km.  30 km, unusually early for the always fast-closing Kawauchi to go to the front.  Anyone else and Mungara, top 3 in 5 of his last 6 races including 3 wins and multiple resettings of his own 40+ WR, might have let it go.  But a champ recognizes a champ.

Just 2 weeks after a 50 km national record, a gap from Kawauchi, and Mungara was on it.  In touch by 32 km and ahead.  Kawauchi closing.  In contact.  Physically, Mungara showing irritation at heel clipping.  Side-by-side.  Kawauchi ahead.  Mungara ahead.  A #1 sign to the crowd and surge from Mungara, matched immediately by Kawauchi.  One of the fastest closers and one of the craftiest of the crafty of the sport, down to the end, to the left turn into the Gold Coast finish chute, Mungara kicking away on the curves, Kawauchi closing in the straight. 

Mungara, 42, with the win in 2:09:00, Kawauchi a second behind in 2:09:01 in his first sub-2:10 in over a year and a half.  Mungara, the first man in over 30 years to win back-to-back Gold Coast titles.  Kawauchi, the first Japanese man ever to run sub-2:10 outside Japan three times in his career.  Race director Cam Hart: "With no disrespect at all to Rob De Castella's Commonwealth Games win, this was the greatest race on Australian soil."

And in the women's race.  From the start, 2:23 Ethiopians Gulume Chala, the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon winner, and Meseret Biru, the 2015 Paris Marathon winner, and little-known Japanese also-ran Misato Horie (Noritz), on course record pace steadily sub-2:27.  Horie, uncharacteristically confident for a Japanese athlete pre-race, despite a 4-minute difference in PB saying, "There's nobody here I can't beat."  Horie, applying the pressure, cracking Biru to the point she DNFd, cracking Chala, alone after 33 km, sailing on alone, under the sun, Yukiko Akaba's 2:27:17 course record never out of range.  Alone in the chute.  Alone in the home straight.  Alone across the line in 2:26:40.  "I never thought of myself as someone who could compete with Africans or break the course record," she said post-race.  "This was an incredible confidence builder.  I think I can make the London World Championships team."

Mungara wasn't the only one to push barriers.  In 3rd in the men's race, 41-year-old Moroccan-born Belgian Abdelhadi El Hachimi, outkicking Japan's Chiharu Takada (JR Higashi Nihon) with a 2-minute PB of 2:10:35 for 3rd.  40-year-old Katie Kemp of New Zealand with a PB of 2:40:05 for 7th in the women's race.  15-year-old Katrina Robinson of Australia debuting in the 10 km in 34:27.  And, in the marathon, Kawauchi's mother, Mika Kawauchi, his childhood coach, running the marathon for the first time at age 52, clearing her sub-4 goal with ease in 3:53:53, 3:48:39 on net time, her son there to meet her and hold her up at the finish.  Is there a record for mother and son in one marathon?  "The training she put me through when I was young was harsh, but I'm here today because of that," Kawauchi said post-race.  A 42-year-old former barber and a civil servant, two of the men farthest outside the box in the sport today.  An unknown smacking down two far superior Africans in course record time.  Mother following son.  One for the ages.

Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/3/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) – 2:09:00 (age 42)
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) – 2:09:01
3. Abdelhadi El Hachimi (Belgium) – 2:10:35 – PB (age 41)
4. Chiharu Takada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) – 2:10:43
5. Abraraw Tegegne (Ethiopia) – 2:11:39
6. Milton Rotich (Kenya) – 2:14:25
7. Peter Some (Kenya) – 2:15:09
8. Birhanu Achamie (Ethiopia) – 2:15:22
9. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Japan/Komori Corp.) – 2:15:37
10. Beraki Zerea (Eritrea) – 2:16:25
—–
12. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) – 2:17:55
—–
DNF – John Cheruiyot (Kenya)
DNF – Willy Kibor Koitile (Kenya)

Women
1. Misato Horie (Japan/Noritz) – 2:26:40 – CR, PB
2. Gulume Chala (Ethiopia) – 2:27:49
3. Leah Kiprono (Kenya) – 2:34:02
4. Rika Takenaka (Japan/Edion) – 2:34:39
5. Yoko Shibui (Japan/Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) – 2:38:13
6. Hitomi Nakamura (Japan/Panasonic) – 2:38:52
7. Katie Kemp (New Zealand) – 2:40:05 – PB (age 40)
8. Victoria Beck (New Zealand) – 2:43:39 – PB
9. Alice Mason (New Zealand) – 2:45:19 – PB
10. Kirsten Molloy (Australia) – 2:45:30
—–
139. Weiwei Sun (China) – 2:54:11
1610. Mika Kawauchi (Japan) – 3:53:53 – debut (age 52)
—–
DNF – Meseret Mengitsu Biru (Ethiopia)
DNF – Agnes Mutune (Kenya)

ASICS Half Marathon
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/3/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Duer Yoa (Australia) – 1:03:50
2. Hiroyuki Sasaki (Japan/Nissin Shokuhin) – 1:03:56
3. Masaya Kakihara (Japan/SGH Group) – 1:05:38
4. Scott Westcott (Australia) – 1:05:55
5. Josh Harris (Australia) – 1:05:59

Women
1. Cassie Fien (Australia) – 1:11:21
2. Virginia Moloney (Australia) – 1:12:25 – PB
3. Sinead Diver (Australia) – 1:13:19 – PB
4. Rowan-Marie Torckler (New Zealand) – 1:14:40 – PB
5. Yuko Watanabe (Japan/Edion) – 1:15:13

Southern Cross University 10 km
Gold Coast, Australia, 7/2/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Hugh Williams (Australia) – 29:23
2. Andrew Buchanan (Australia) – 29:26 – PB
3. Jack Curran (Australia) – 29:56

Women
1. Leanne Pompeani (Australia) – 33:59 – PB
2. Gemma Maini (Australia) – 34:26
3. Katrina Robinson (Australia) – 34:27 – debut (age 15)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Brett Larner – Japan Running News 

author: GRR