Kenneth Mugara must have got up on the right side of his bed early Sunday morning as he quite comfortably broke away at the halfway stage of the Mumbai Marathon to win the mens title with a new course record of 2:11:51,leaving in his wake fellow Kenyans David Tarus and defending champion John Kelai.
While the Kenyan male runners cleaned out eight of the top ten slots,Ethiopians Haille Kebebush and Marta Marcos dominated the womens section. It was a fight to the finish between the two as they surged past Kenyas Irene Mogaka in the last stretch after Flora Fountain. Unleashing a final burst of speed,Haille won in 2:34:8,with her compatriot following in 2:34:15,and last years runner-up Mogaka finishing with 2:37:28. Mugara and Haille received cheques worth $31,000 each.
Though all eyes were Kelai,who was looking for a hat-trick of wins in Mumbai,it was Mugara who stole the thunder. Breaking away from a pack of about 15 runners around the Bandra Reclamation stretch,Mugara kept a distance of about five metres from his three nearest rivals Tarus,Kelai and Regu Neguse. Kelai found the pace set by Mugara too hot to handle and dropped out by the 36km stage. He gave no excuses for his below-par performance: This was the best I could do today. The conditions were all fine.
RAM Singh Yadav finished first among the Indian runners to register a hat-trick of wins in the marathon,clocking a timing of 2:18: 03. He was followed by Deep Chand,who is still nursing a bad heel,then and Narender Singh in third. Yadav,whose timing proved to be the 11th best overall,took a cheque of $1,150.
There was some confusion among the Indian womens section top spots,but L Aruna Devi was declared the final winner with a timing of 3:09:59. Indresh Dhiraj and Leelamma Alphanso also finished on the podium.
Results: Full marathon (men): 1. Kenneth Mugara (KEN) 02:11:51; 2. David Tarus (Kenya) 02:12:02; 3. John Kelai (Kenya) 02:12:23
Indian men: 1. Ram Singh Yadav (overall 11) 02:18:03; 2. Deep Chand (overall 21) 02:26:01; 3. Narender Singh (overall 23) 02:26:41.
Full marathon (women): 1. Haille Kebebush (ETH) 02:34:08; 2. Marta Marcos (ETH) 02:34:15; 3. Irene Mogaka (KEN) 02:37:28
Indian women: 1. L Aruna Devi 3:09:59 (overall 22); 2. Indresh Dhiraj 3:14:13 (overall 25),3. Leelamma Alphanso 3:16:26 (overall 26).
Half marathon (Men): 1. Surender Singh 01:06:09; 2. Santosh Kumar 01:08:08; 3. BC Tilak 01:08:35
Women: 1. Kavita Raut 01:20:58; 2. Preethi L Rao 01:21:23; 3. Vaishali Chatare 01:26:45