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Rediff.com  » Sports » Mumbai Marathon PHOTOS: Kenyan Ruto, Ethiopian Mekash take top honours

Mumbai Marathon PHOTOS: Kenyan Ruto, Ethiopian Mekash take top honours

January 19, 2014 14:24 IST

Mumbai Marathon PHOTOS: Kenyan Ruto, Ethiopian Mekash take top honours

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Evans Ruto led a clean sweep by Kenya in the men's race but narrowly missed a course record, while pre-race favourite Dinknesh Mekash clinched the women's crown with ease in the 11th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on Sunday.

Ruto clocked 2 hours, 9 minutes and 33 seconds to miss the course record, set last year by his countryman Jackson Kiprop, by a mere second as well as the bonus fee of $15,000. He had to be satisfied with the winner's prize money of $41,000 out of the total fund of $3,60,000.


Image: Evans Ruto runs during the Mumbai Marathon on Sunday
Photographs: Reuben NV/Rediff.com
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The 30-year-old winner was followed in second position by his Kenyan compatriot Lawrence Kimaiyo, who finished 12 seconds later, while the third spot was grabbed by another Kenyan runner Philemon Baaru, in 2:09:58.

The men's field included reigning Commonwealth Games champion Kenyan John Kelei, a two-time winner who finished outside the top-ten, as well as another former champion Kenneth Mungara (Kenya), who finished 10th in 2:14:13 and got $1,000.

There were eight Kenyan runners in the top ten, the remaining spots going to another East African nation Ethiopia. It was the eighth time in 11 years that a Kenyan stamped his superiority on the 42.195-km race.

The runners in second and third place received $21,000 and $15,000 respectively.


Image: Elite runners near the half mark near the Bandra-Worli sea link
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Mumbai Marathon PHOTOS: Kenyan Ruto, Ethiopian Mekash take top honours

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The women's race was comfortably clinched by last year's runner-up Mekash in 2:28:08, also off the course record of 2:24:33, set by Kenya's Valentine Kipketer last year. Mekash bagged the top prize of $41,000.

It was the eighth time that an Ethiopian woman finished on top in the Mumbai event. In second place was Kenya's Gladys Kipsoi, on debut, in 2:29:53, while Ethiopia's Bizunesh Urgesa came third in 2:30:00 and the duo received $21,000 and $15,000 respectively.

Ruto later said but for some "joggers" (amateur runners taking part in the marathon) coming in his way, he would surely have broken the course record set by Kiprop.


Image: The top three Indian runners pose at the finish line
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"Yes (I would have broken the record). There were some joggers who came in the way and I had to move away from them. While running you have to feel free, but I will come again and try breaking the record next year," he said.

"The weather was fine though it was windy on the bridge (Worli-Bandra Sea Link). But it became warm towards the end. They should start the race early, by 6:30 am."

The full marathon began at 7:30 am.

Ruto broke away from the lead bunch on the Marine Drive return stretch, and despite increasing his pace a bit, could not dip under the course record.


Image: A runner with an amputated leg runs with the India flag
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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The new women's champion Mekash, who broke away from the rest at the 28-km mark, said her training stint back home in Addis Ababa, with a top bunch of distance runners, including London Olympic marathon winner and Ethiopian compatriot Tiki Gelana helped her attain her goal.

"I am happy to win the race. I had trained well in Addis Ababa. The weather too helped even though there was some wind. The temperature was not as bad as it was last year. The pacemakers were a great help," she said.


Image: An amateur runner nears the finish line
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Elite athletes' coordinator Jos Hermens also felt the race organisers need to be a bit more professional next year to ensure amateur runners don't come in the way of the elite field.

"The frontrunners are okay as they can see these runners, but for those who are behind things become difficult. It needs to be professionalised," said the ex-Dutch athlete.

The full marathon results (top 6 positions)

Men: 1. Evans Ruto (Ken) 2:29:33, 2. Lawrence Kimaiyo (Ken) 2:09:45, 3. Philemon Baaru (Ken) 2:09:58, 4. Stephen Chebogut (Ken) 2:10:56, 5. Ishhim Ael Bushendich (Ken) 2:11:18, 6. Julius Chepkwony (Ken) 2:11:37.

Women: 1. Dinknesh Mekash (Eth) 2:28:08, 2. Gladys Kipsoi (Ken) 2:29:53, 3. Bizunesh Urgesa (Eth) 2:30:00, 4. Etalem Ahu Kidane (Eth) 2:31:53; 5. Asnakech Mengitsu (Eth) 2:32:42, 6. Aberu Mekuria (Eth) 2:33:21. 


Image: Runners take off at the starting line
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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