A wild day at Australia's fastest marathon
Typically Australia's fastest marathon, each year the Gold Coast draws a quality field from home and abroad, as many Japanese athletes look to escape the oppressive heat of their summer. The 2019 edition of the race was set to be electric, with Japan's Yuta Shitara (PB 2:06:11), New Zealand's Zane Robertson (debut), and American legend Bernard Lagat all taking part. The women's field was highlighted by Australian runner Milly Clark trying to get the Olympic standard, and Kenyan stalwart Rodah Jepkorir running her 4th marathon for the year.
Zane Robertson had reportedly asked the lead pacers to go through the halfway mark in 63:00, and within 7km of the start only 5 men were in the lead pack. By the turnaround at 16km, it was down to Robertson, Shitara, and Kiptum.
Interestingly, Robertson's shoe lace appeared to be undone from around the 10km mark, and remained that way right to the finish.
At the 25km mark Milly Clark was sitting in 3rd, 1 minute and 15 seconds behind Jepkorir and Truphena Chepchirchir.
By 32km Clark had gone past Chepchirchir and moved into second place, setting up a thrilling final 10km chase to Jepkorir.
On the men's side, the final pacer detached around 33km and it was left to Robertson, Kiptum, and Shitara.
Coming into the final kilometers, Clark had recuded Jepkorir's lead to less than 30 seconds, running entirely on her own.
Yuta Shitara made his move with less than 2km remaining, getting the win in 2:07:50 - well short of his PB but a new Australian all-comers' record. Kiptum was valiant in defeat, entering the finishing chute not long after Shitara with a 2:08:02.
Extraordinary scenes for Australian Liam Adams who smashed his previous best of 2:12:52 (set in Berlin 2017) to record a 2:11:36. The Olympic standard is 2:11:30 - though Adams may still find his way to Tokyo.
Crowd favourite Bernard Lagat ran a 2:12:10 in his second marathon, finishing one spot behind Adams.
Ultimately Rodah Jepkorir held off a fast finishing Clark to win in 2:27:56. Clark closed hard and finished only 12 seconds back in 2:28:08, a PB and more importantly a time under the Olympic standard.