GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – Former Japanese national record holder Yuta Shitara set a race record to win the Gold Coast Marathon on Sunday.
The 27-year-old finished the men’s race in 2 hours, 7 minute, 50 seconds, shaving almost one minute off the previous record set in 2015 by Kenyan Kenneth Mungara.
Shitara, who stayed with the lead group of four throughout the 42.195-km race, said although he was not aiming for a particular time or result, the win showed his training had paid off.
“We did a lot of training, and I think that helped,” he said in a post-race interview.
Weather conditions on the Gold Coast were less than ideal, with athletes in both the full- and half-marathons battling headwinds and heavy rain.
“The wind was strong, but everyone faced the same conditions,” Shitara said.
Shitara finished 12 seconds ahead of second-place Barnabas Kiptum from Kenya, with New Zealand’s Zane Robertson coming in third in his marathon debut.
Japan’s second finisher in the full marathon was 30-year-old Shin Kimura, who shaved three minutes off his personal best with a time of 2:12:12 to finish eighth. Last year’s Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi was 13th.
“Honestly, I’d like to be able to run together with Yuta but I’m still not good enough,” Kimura said.
Japanese athletes also performed well in the half-marathon, with seven of the top-ten finishers coming from Japan.
“There was a really strong field of Japanese this year. I had a race there (in Japan) at the start of this year so I knew how they run,” said back-to-back half-marathon winner Jack Rayner of Australia.
“The rain was hard, but it was a good course,” said half-marathon silver medalist Yuki Sato. “I’m very happy.”