Master Athlete supremo Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara took his third win at the IAAF Gold Label race. to show exactly, age is not a barrier!
Having won in 2015 and 2016 (the former in an Australian all-comers’ record of 2:08:42), Mungara was denied a hat-trick last year when Japan’s Takuya Noguchi sped by late in the race to win by five seconds.
A final spurt from another Japanese runner, Kenta Murayama, almost thwarted the 44-year-old Mungara again this year, but this time he held off the desperate late charge to win by a second in 2:09:49.
Murayama’s 2:09:50 was a personal best by more than seven minutes and a performance more in line with his 27:39 and 1:00:50 credentials for the 10,000m and half-marathon respectively.
Denied the win this year, Japanese runners took the next three places. Behind Murayama came another big improver in Jo Fukuda, whose 2:09:52 was more than five minutes faster than his previous best, while defending champion Noguchi finished fourth in 2:10:15.
Australia’s 2017 World Championships representative Jack Colreavy won the men’s Oceania title with a personal best of 2:17:48 from New Zealand’s Nick Horspool and David Criniti of Australia.
Jack Rayner was both overall winner and Oceania champion in the half marathon with his winning time of 1:03:12 while another World Championships marathon representative, Sinead Diver, took the half marathon title with a personal best of 1:09:53 behind US runner Sara Hall’s 1:09:27.
Turning into the parkland finish, Mungara was clear and he held off Murayma’s late charge to take the win, 2:09:49 to 2:09:50. The gallant Fukuda was two seconds further back in third place.
Crowd favourite Kawauchi, making his seventh straight appearance in the Gold Coast race, was off the leading pace by 15 kilometres and finished ninth in 2:14:51. He has a first, a second, two thirds and a fourth in the race.
After a first five kilometres in just on 15 minutes, the pace slowed a little as the leading pack went through half way in 1:04:20. The pace slowed again to 35 kilometres and the 35 to 40-kilometre split was the slowest of the race.
But as shown to break 2:10 for a 44 year old athlete is abolsutely superb and goes to show that if you look at yourself and push you really can achieve your goals.