Mumbai: It’s clearly the most awaited date in the city’s calendar, the third Sunday of January each year, and has been for the last 12 years. In its 13th year, it was no different as more than 40,000 runners took the streets of Maximum City, in a display of tremendous grit and endurance. At 5.40am, the Half Marathon runners set off from the Worli Dairy at Worli Sea face on their 21km journey, as the amateur runners took off for the 42km from the magnificent Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. With plenty of Indian and international talent on display, Mumbaikars reveled in the glory of the beloved 2016 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
Kipketer, who started the race as a pace-setter, clocked 2.08.35 hours as he ran a blistering second leg to break the three-year-old record set by his Kenyan counterpart Jackson Kiprop in 2013. Coincidentally, Kiprop was also a pace-setter when he set the record. Kipketer took over the race as the runners hit the final climb at Peddar Road, destroying the field of five runners. But much before that, at Worli, the big bunch of 18 runners suffered a splinter, and only five runners were left in that, with Kipketer and runner-up Seboka Dibaba and 3rd place Marius Kimutai among the five. But Kipketer's strong surge left the field in the wake as he built up a sizeable lead and then started celebrating almost four km before the finish line. Kipketer dipped 57 seconds under Kiprop's record with a strong run from favourite Dibaba ensuring that even he finished under the previous record. The finish was so blistering that Kimutai, who finished third, was only 7 seconds behind the previous record.
"This was my first time running in India, and the course was quite challenging. However, once I passed the 32 km I was confident that I would be able to finish strong. It was great to see so many people cheering for us at the finish line. This is also the biggest prize money I have won, and I hope to build a house for my family," said Kipketer, who won a total of $56,000. He won $41,000 for the finishing first and even bagged the $15,000 bonus for a course record.
Talent from India too shone bright this Sunday morning as multiple men and women athletes were placed in the top ten in the overall race standings, with all six Indian men and women podium finishers securing a qualification at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Nitendra Singh Rawat, who never shies from sporting some style for an Army man, put in a rockstar like performance as he clipped a minute and 11 seconds from Ram Singh Yadav's record of 2.16.59 set in 2012. Nitendra not only becomes the second Indian to finish among the top ten overall but also helped his two Army colleagues, Gopi T and Kheta Ram make the qualifying mark. Nitender's 10th place in the elite field earned himself some extra money. Apart from the Rs 5,00,000 for first prize, he bagged the Rs 1,50,000 for the Indian course record. He also bagged an additional $1500 for his 10th place.
Gopi T, was a pace setter for the Indian men till the 30th km mark, but he felt strong and finished 27 seconds adrift of Nitendra. He clocked 2:16.15 and that is, like the elite men, better than the previous course record for Indian men. In the overall standing, he finished 11th. Kheta Ram, who finished third with a timing of 2:17.23, made the cut for Rio where the qualifying mark is 2.19.
Nitendra had predicted before the race that he would lower the record, and he was pleased as punch. “Though we do train and put in the effort, we attribute our success to our coach. What we have achieved today is due to his efforts. We would also like to thank the Army for recognizing our potential and giving us the opportunity along with the continued support that we get from the Sports Authority of India, Athletics Federation of India and the Government" he said.
Though the female athletes were running together till the halfway mark, Kipketer, lost a lot of energy in trying to catch up with Shuko, finally finished in 2.34:07. She is the older sister of men's winner Gideon making the Kipketer family a happy family.
“Today was a very special day for me because I won the race. I thoroughly prepared for the marathon, and I was confident that this preparation would help me clinch the title,” said a pleased Shuko Genemo of Ethiopia. She attributes her success partially to her pacemaker, who also trains with her in her home town.
Sudha Singh beat her two training partners but was way off the course record as she swept home in 2:39.28. She also finished seventh overall, earning herself some bonus.
“It was a good race, and we were all running together. Though I was expecting a better timing, but I am happy with the Olympics qualification. Our coach will now decide if we continue with the marathon preparations or switch to steeplechase at Rio,” said Sudha Singh, the Indian women’s winner.
Lalita Babar finished second in 2:41.55 while last year's winner OP jaisha came in third in 2:43.26.
All the three Indian women have of course qualified for the Olympics though both Jaisha and Lalita have made their preference for track pretty well known.
Following are the results: (Finals)
(Overall Results Men): Gideon Kipketer (KEN) 02.08.35; Seboka Dibaba (ETH) 02.09.20; Marius Kimutai (KEN) 02.09.39; Herpasa Negasa (ETH) 02.10.17; Jacob Cheshari (KEN) 02.11.59; Josphat Leting (KEN) 02.12.04; Seboka Negusse (ETH) 02.13.20; Jackson Kiprop (UGA) 02.14.54; Dereje Debele (ETH) 02.15.30; Nitendra Singh Rawat (IND) 02.15.48.
(Overall Results Women): Shuko Genemo (ETH) 02.27.50; Bornes Kitur (KEN) 02.32.00; Valentine Kipketer (KEN) 02.34.07; Rebecca Korir (KEN) 02.34.31; Tesfanesh Merga (ETH) 02.36.16; Alem Fikre (ETH) 02.38.26; Sudha Singh (IND) 02.39.28; Netsanet Achamo (ETH) 02.39.28; Seada Kedir (ETH) 02.40.47; Lalita Babbar (IND) 02.41.55.
Indian Overall Results Men: Nitendra Singh Rawat (IND) 02.15.48 (Overall 10th); Gopi T (IND) 02.16.15 (Overall 11th); Kheta Ram (IND) 02.17.23 (Overall 15th); Elam Singh (IND) 02.20.02 (Overall 16th); MD Yunuf (IND) 02.20.13 (Overall 17th); TH Sanjith Luwang (IND) 02.20.51 (Overall 18th); Rahul Kumar Pal (IND) 02.22.04 (Overall 19th); V L Dangi (IND) 02.23.46 (Overall 20th).
Indian Overall Results Women: Sudha Singh(IND) 02.39.28 (Overall 7th); Lalita Babar (IND) 02.41.55 (Overall 10th); OP Jaisha (IND) 02.42.26 (Overall 11th); Sawati Gadhwe (IND) 02.47.34 (Overall 12th); Kavita Raut (IND) 02.49.43 (Overall 13th); Jyoti Gawate (IND) 02.54.20 (Overall 14th).
Half Marathon Men: Deepak Kumbhar (IND) 01.06.01; Belliappa AB (IND) 01.06.37; Indrajeet Patel (IND) 01.06.59; Soji Mathew (IND) 01.07.29; Govinda Singh (IND) 01.07.41.
Half Marathon Women: Monika Raut (IND) 01.17.20; Manisha Salunkhe (IND) 01.19.17; Monika Athare (IND) 01.20.08; Kiran Sahadev (IND) 01.20.51; Kiranjeet Kaur (IND) 01.24.46.
JABONG Run in Costume:
1.Kamal Jain (Theme-Organ Donation); 2. Janardhan Nair (theme-Jai Jaan Jai Kisan); 3. Suresh Rajani (Theme-Remembring the defence Service)
1.Samarpan (Ruchita Dalal) Theme-One World One Family; 2.Shrimad Ramchandra (Theme-Love and Care).Snaps: [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]