Ethiopia and Japan Double at Record-Breaking Gold Coast Airport Marathon

04 Jul 2012 08:53
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Press Release

It was an Ethiopia and Japan double at the record-breaking 34th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon held today in beautiful running conditions on Queensland’s Gold Coast in Australia.

An event record of 28,224 took part across all races this weekend including the most finishers ever in an Australian marathon race (5,094). This added additional gloss to the performances of Gold Coast Airport Marathon race winners Alemayehu Shumye from Ethiopia (men) and Kaori Yoshida (Japan).

In attendance today, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and Commonwealth Games, Jann Stuckey, said the Gold Coast Airport Marathon continued to break new ground as a major event on the Gold Coast.

“Congratulations to the 28,224 participants in this weekend’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon and to the 1,100 volunteers who have made this event memorable for everyone,” said Stuckey.

“This year we have hosted another record number of runners with more than 9,000 travelling from interstate and overseas to experience Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast.

“The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is a great example of how the Newman Government is investing in events to establish Queensland as Australia’s number one tourist destination.

“As we look toward the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the continuing success of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is a shining example of our ability to host high, quality international sporting events.”

Shumye became the first Ethiopian man to win the Gold Coast Airport Marathon clocking 2:10:35, just missing out on the race record by a meagre 35 seconds.

“I flew in from Ethiopia yesterday and didn’t get to sleep until 1am so I had no sleep and no rest,” said Shumye.

“I felt tired throughout the race but when I finished I ran back past the crowd to celebrate with them.

“The competition here is good and I will come back next year and win another one. I love the Gold Coast and today I’m very happy.”

Two minutes behind the race leader were two Kenyans, 25-year-old Robert Mwangi who clocked 2:12:19 for second closely followed by Ernest Kebenei in third in 2:12:49.

For the second time at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Yoshida blitzed her rivals and took the women’s marathon crown in 2:30:36, just over a minute outside the race record.

“It was difficult to keep the right pace because I was running by myself in front of the pack,” said Yoshida.

“I was aiming to break the course record but the weather started getting hot towards the end. I’ll definitely be back and I’ll break the record next time.

“I have run two Gold Coast Airport Marathons and had two wins [in 2010 and 2012]. I love this course and the audience just makes it more fantastic.”

Madoka Ogi gave Japan the top two places when she crossed the line three minutes after Yoshida in 2:33:48. Kenyan Hellen Kimutai, 34, claimed third place in 2:36:45.

Queensland’s Jonathan Peters and New Zealand’s Sally Gibbs won the IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Championship as part of the race.

Three-time winner of the Wheelchair Half Marathon Richard Nicholson (ACT) seized his debut Wheelchair Marathon on the Gold Coast and rolled over the line in first position in 1:45:04.

Alex Watson (NSW) surprised everyone today on debut when she was victorious in the women’s ASICS Half Marathon in a personal best 1:13:07.

The Tweed Heads local overcame the odds after recovering from life-saving surgery last year to be the leading female in the record-breaking field of 10,001 runners in the ASICS Half Marathon.

“About 10 months ago I had two major surgeries to remove a huge tumour from my stomach,” said Watson.

“It was a really rare disease where my stomach and everything inside me got all twisted and my stomach was basically up in my throat.

“I have a scar from my navel to my chest and the doctors said I definitely should not be here today.

“After my surgery I couldn’t even walk. So to be back here today, running, and winning my debut half marathon race is amazing.”

Watson dominated the race with second placegetter Narumi Shirataki (JPN) crossing the line more than a minute after her (1:14:18). Third place went to New Zealander Lisa Robertson who clocked 1:14:22.

25-year-old Liam Adams (VIC) couldn’t have asked for a better half marathon debut after taking out the men’s ASICS Half Marathon in 1:03:28 in a close race with only six seconds separating him from second place Harry Summers.

“It was my debut for the half marathon so throughout the run I was just hoping to be up there with the pace, I wasn’t really expecting to win,” said Adams.

“I just got back from America where I was doing some altitude training and putting in some solid mileage in preparation.

“My next goal is to take the double and win the City To Surf (in Sydney) but it’s pretty ambitious – not many people have ever been able to do it. But I’ve been training pretty well though so we’ll see what happens.”

NSW’s Harry Summers ran 1:03:34 while third placegetter Shinichi Yamashita (JPN) crossed the line in 1:04:25.

The race also doubled as the IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Championships which Adams and Robertson claimed as eligible runners. The running conditions were perfect for ASICS Ambassador and 2010 Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell’s half marathon debut. The Gold Coast beauty was on track for a 1:50 finish but was hampered by an injury at the17.5km mark but dug deep to cross the line in 2:17:40.

“I had a fantastic start and was on track running my 5:30 kilometre pace but injured my leg at around the 17.5km mark,” said Jesinta.

“I wasn’t going to stop because I worked so hard in training, it was a fantastic feeling crossing the line. Next year I might have to try again and get under the two-hour mark.”

Former Hockeyroo Kate Hollywood showed character as she lapped up the beautiful Gold Coast conditions clocking a notable 1:42:26.

Rugby league and union international Mat Rogers completed his first marathon in 3:34:54 while Australian media personality Dan MacPherson was rapt with his time of 3:07:52.

150 teams enjoyed the atmosphere this weekend with Team Health (429 runners and 12,314km) and Step Into Life (205 runners and 2,828km) winning the largest teams and most kilometres travelled in the Corporate Teams Challenge and Fitness Teams Challenge respectively.

Events Queensland Gold Coast Chairman Kerry Watson said the Gold Coast Airport Marathon proved to be the biggest and best in its 34-year history.

“This was a truly great event with record entries, record finishers for an Australian marathon race, quality elite results, beautiful Queensland weather and an inspiring atmosphere around the course,” said Watson.

“Thanks to the support of the Queensland Government through Events Queensland, the 10th year of our fantastic partnership with Gold Coast Airport and the support of our sponsors, my team at Events Queensland Gold Coast has been able to deliver a magnificent event well supported by the 1,100-strong Suncorp Bank Volunteer Team.

“It is also a wonderful result for charity with more than $420,000 being raised by our participants through Everyday Hero to a range of charities including our major beneficiary Cancer Council Queensland.”

The 2013 Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on 6-7 July. Visit for more information.

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is supported by the Queensland Government through Events Queensland Gold Coast as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural and regional events.

Visit the diverse calendar of events in Queensland at


Gold Coast Airport Marathon

1. Alemayehu Shumye (ETHIOPIA) 2:10:35
2. Robert Mwangi (KENYA) 2:12:19
3. Ernest Kebenei (KENYA) 2:12:49
4. Yuki Kawauchi (JAPAN) 2:13:26
5. Jonathan Peters (QLD) 2:20:05
6. Rowan Walker (VIC) 2:21:19
7. Chin Ping Ho (TAIWAN) 2:23:48
8. Wondwosen Geleta (VIC) 2:26:17
9. Jay Phillpotts (VIC) 2:27:01
10. Mark Tucker (NSW) 2:29:08

1. Kaori Yoshida (JAPAN) 2:30:36
2. Madoka Ogi (JAPAN) 2:33:48
3. Hellen Kimutai (KENYA) 2:36:45
4. Filomena Costa (PORTUGAL) 2:40:57
5. Chihiro Tanaka (JAPAN) 2:40:58
6. Sally Gibbs (NEW ZEALAND) 2:41:15
7. Anita Keem (NSW) 2:42:43
8. Kaori Oyama (JAPAN) 2:43:45
9. Alexandra Williams (NEW ZEALAND) 2:45:19
10. Robyn Millard (VIC) 2:46:44

Wheelchair Marathon
1. Richard Nicholson (ACT) 1:45:04
2. Billy Chaffey (NSW) 2:06:04
3. Yuhei Yasuno (JAPAN) 4:01:16

ASICS Half Marathon
1. Liam Adams (VIC) 1:03:28
2. Harry Summers (NSW) 1:03:34
3. Shinichi Yamashita (JAPAN) 1:04:25
4. Lee Troop (VIC) 1:05:34
5. Alastair Stevenson (QLD) 1:05:46
6. Benjamin Ashkettle (VIC) 1:05:59
7. Stephen Dinneen (VIC) 1:06:11
8. Russell Dessaix-Chin (NSW) 01:06:19
9. Peter Nowill (QLD) 1:06:29
10. Josh Harris (TAS) 1:07:11

1. Alex Watson (NSW) 1:13:07
2. Narumi Shirataki (JAPAN) 1:14:18
3. Lisa Robertson (NEW ZEALAND) 1:14:22
4. Risa Utta (JAPAN) 1:15:43
5. Belinda Martin (NSW) 1:16:11
6. Tracey Austin (VIC) 1:17:59
7. Amanda Watson (NSW) 1:18:32
8. Clare Geraghty (QLD) 1:18:49
9. Amy Stafford (NSW) 1:18:52
10. Alice Mason (NEW ZEALAND) 1:19:09

Total – 28,224 (record)
Gold Coast Airport Marathon – 5,749
ASICS Half Marathon – 10,001
Southern Cross University 10km Run – 6,916
Queensland Health 5.7km Challenge – 4,021
Dreamworld 4km Junior Dash – 558
Dreamworld 2km Junior Dash – 979