“This will be my first marathon there. I have done the 10km and the half marathon on the Gold Coast, but I have only ever watched the marathon before.”
To make the podium Clark, who has a PB of 2:29:07, faces a tough road.
Her biggest competition is likely to come from a group of Kenyan sub-2:30 runners led by the 2017 second placegetter, Mercy Kibarus, who has a PB of 2:26:52.
Also from Kenya with sub 2:30 PBs are Rodah Jepkorir (PB 2:27:38), Truphena Chepchirchir (PB 2:27:52) and Alice Kibor (PB 2:28:19).
Among the top seeds for this race is Eritrea’s Nazret Weldu (PB 2:29:48), who set that time placing second in the Beirut Marathon in November last year.
The men’s marathon field is packed with international punching power, with six Kenyans and three Japanese making up the top nine seeds.
The biggest talking point in this race is the showdown between Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara and Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi. Mungara is a three-time winner as well as race record-holder and Kawauchi, victorious in 2013, has only recently adopted a full-time approach to professional running.
The pair turn the Gold Coast race into their annual one-on-one duel, however there are plenty of others, especially their own countrymen, who are more than capable of stealing the limelight in 2019.
These include Kenyans Ezekiel Chebii and Philip Sanga, who both have the same PB – 2:06:07, Douglas Chebii (PB 2:08:43), Barnabas Kiptum (PB 2:09:19) and Brimin Misoi (PB 2:09:31).
Among Kawauchi’s compatriots is ex-national marathon record holder and current national half marathon record holder, Yuta Shitara (PB 2:06:11).
The 27-year-old Shitara competed in the 10,000m at the Rio Olympics and will be making his Gold Coast debut. He ran his first marathon in Tokyo in 2017 (2:09:27) before backing up later that year with a 2:09:03 in the Berlin Marathon.
He then stepped out last year and recorded his 2:06:11 personal best in Tokyo, breaking the long-standing 2:06:16 Japanese marathon record (which has since been broken again by Suguru Osako who ran 2:05:50 in Chicago last October) and he is also Japan’s half marathon national record holder (1:00:17).
New Zealander Zane Robertson, may be attempting to complete his first marathon on the streets of the Gold Coast, but does not lack confidence coming into the event.
“First and foremost, I always target the win. I want to run as fast as the pacemakers allow and once they step off the road anything is possible. Perhaps a new Oceania record?” said the 29-year-old, who has been based in Kenya and Ethiopia with his twin Jake since they were 17 in a bid to scale the heights of international distance running.
The top two Aussie seeds are Rio Olympic marathoners Scott Westcott (PB 2:11:36) and Liam Adams (PB 2:12:52). Adams has been in sensational form since finishing fifth in last year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Marathon in April. He went on to win the Melbourne Marathon in October, was second in Japan’s Kobe marathon in November and this year has won both the Canberra and Sydney half marathons.