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John Kelai wins Mumbai marathon

Last updated on: January 21, 2007 16:45 IST

Kenya's John Kelai overcame a strong field to win the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on Sunday.

The 29-year-old runner persevered in hot and humid conditions to cover the 42.195 km course in 2 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

Ethiopia's Gashaw Melese was second while countryman Tariku Jufar placed third.

Around 28,000 runners participated in various categories to celebrate the spirit of Mumbai and support various causes.

Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Johny Joseph flagged off the runners at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

The men's marathon, though failed to see Daniel Rono's 2006 mark of two hours, 12 minutes and 03 seconds being obilterated, was a tactical battle all the way, with the main contenders preferring to stay close behind the pace-setters. It was only at the half-way mark that Kelai and Melese decided to break away from the leading pack and mount their victory bid.

But with a little over six kms to go, it was the Kenyan who made the burst to cruise home with much to spare and claim the winner's purse of US $ 31,500.

Melese timed 2:12.32 seconds, while Jufar finished in 2:12:49 seconds.

China's Xiao Shu Yang claimed the honours among the women. She covered the grueling course in 2:36:17 seconds to end African domination in the event and take the top prize of US $25,000.

Second place went to Ethiopia's Letay Negash, who timed 2:37:05. Kenya's Jennifer Chesinon Lingakwiang (2:38:14) was third.

Indian runners came up with creditable performances. Ram Singh Yadav was the pick of them, clocking 2:20:34 seconds to finish 16th overall.

Sahariya Bipul (2:26:24) and Shivdhan Singh (2:26:51) were the other noteable Indian men's performers.

In the women's section, Leelamma Alphanso clocked 2:59:49 to finish 16th overall.

Indian runners swept the half marathon, claiming the top three positions in the 21.097 km race, the first run to be flagged off in the morning.

Pune's Deep Chand finished first in a timing of 1:08.03, followed by Bhairav Singh Lone (1:08:25) and Sachin Sonawane (1:08:27).

Madhuri Gurnule claimed top honours in the women's half-marathon. The Nagpur runner clocked 1:19:54 while finishing ahead of Switzerland's Saviola Oppliegar and Bhagwati (India) in that order.