Mumbai, India - Ethiopian Netsanet Achamo Abeyo clocked an impressive 2:26:12 to take the women’s crown while Laban Moiben of Kenya won in a close finish from another Ethiopian, Raji Assefa, to take the men's title at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on Sunday (15).
The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Contested under the best weather conditions since its first running in 2004, the ninth edition of the Marathon witnessed a relatively cool temperatures (19-24 celsius) throughout the race.
Pacemaker Simon Kismili and Tanzanian Dickson Marwa led a group of twenty runners in the initial stages of the race. Running in to Marine Drive and passing through the Chaupatti beach, the race covered a flat course until the route turned in to Pedder Road flyover. Still moving in a big bunch, the runners entered together at the five kilometer stretch Sea Link just before the 15Km mark in 45:20.
Nagpur Marathon winner John Kyui then moved in front while his Kenyan teammate Kismili was a shade away. At the end of the sea bridge only half of the lead group, about seven runners, remained at the front. Moiben, who won the Los Angeles Marathon in 2008 and Ottawa last year, become visible at the front. Moiben was closely followed by compatriots Nixon Maschichin, third at Rome two years ago, and Kyui. Moiben crossed the 20k mark in 1:01:43.
The seven-man lead group started to split at the 29th kilometre and five runners, including Ethiopians Gela Hailu and Raji Assefa, remained at the helm with the three Kenyans mentioned above. The group passed that point in 1:30:28.
Kenyan Benjamin Korir and Ethiopia’s Siraj Gena, second here two years ago, were trailing behind. Climbing again on the Pedder Road, the leaders went past 36Km in roughly around 1:52 near Cadbury’s and started to descend on the Marine Drive for their return journey three minutes later. The timing on the lead car showed a course record was well within reach of the men but congestion on the route, mainly due to the mingled Half Marathon runners and a narrowed passage near the landmark Church Gate station due to a pipeline work, tamed the runners in achieving it.
Moiben entered the last kilometre along with Assefa and Kyui. The Ethiopian made a desperate effort in the last 500 metros to take the lead, but Moiben prevented his ambition. After a fierce battle Moiben got the gold back for Kenya in 2:10:48. Assefa, credited with the same time, could not live up his dream of extending an Ethiopian winning streak, and finished second. John Kyui filled the podium six seconds later.
"I am pleased with the win here, my first time in India as well as Asia," Moiben said.
Personal best for Abeyo - women's race
Unlike the men’s race, the top honours among the women were decided in the early stages.
Netsanet Achamo Abeyo, leading a pack of six of her teammates, crossed the 20k mark in 1:09:19. The fourth place finisher at last year’s Rome Marathon, Abeyo made her kick after the 25th kilometre and was at least 30 seconds ahead of her fellow runners for the major part of the rest of the race. Increasing her tempo on the return journey, she went on to clock a personal best and course record time of 2:26:12 for the women’s crown, more than four minutes faster than the second placed Fatuma Sado (2:30:20).
“I am happy to win here,” Abeyo said at the post-race press conference although it was visible to see the pain on her face, the sign of an all-out effort!
An innocent looking Sado, the pre-race favourite and just 20 years old, vowed to come back for the title next year. She said a pain in her legs prevented her from keeping up with Abeyo. Makda Harun was third in 2:30:47. It was indeed a coup for Ethiopia, with taking the first dozen spots and three more within the top-20.
Both winners went home with USD 36,000 from the pool of USD 340,000 total prize money for this year’s event.
Indian Ram Singh Yadav attains Olympic qualification
A sportive home crowd cheered all the way when the elite Indian runners took to the Mumbai roads. Roars went sky-high when Ram Singh Yadav, first among the Indians and twelfth overall, crossed the finish line in 2:16:59 to achieve the “B” standard for the Olympic Games in London. However it was heartening to note that the second Indian in the fray, Elam Singh, missed the norm by just 27 seconds. Basically a steeplechaser, Singh ran his first Marathon less than three months ago at Allahabad (19 Nov) where he finished second in 2:24:50.
Four years ago, Yadav missed the Beijing Olympic qualification here by just four seconds. Recalling that episode with tears on his eyes, the Indian Army’s long distance coach K.S. Mathew dedicate his ward’s mark to God. The emotional coach further revealed the Indian runners originally decided to run in the Dubai marathon next week (27 Jan) but had to amend their venture at the last minute as the visas for their trip could not obtained in time.
India’s last entry in an Olympic Games Marathon came in 1980 at Moscow. The best placing in the Olympics by India was that of Shivnath Singh’s eleventh position in Montreal, four years earlier.
A reason to run in Mumbai
Every year Mumbai witnesses a host of newcomers making to this marathon with different objectives. Sigrid Eichner, the 71-year-old from Germany, was among them. This Sunday morning saw Eichner completed her 1,667th marathon!
The Mumbai Marathon's route includes Haji Ali shrine and Siddhi Vinayak temple and covers all types of areas including Indian industrial baron Anil Ambani’s multi-storied villa to common people’s residential suburbs. Incidentally Ambani himself is a regular participant in the annual race. The race brought in a sportive culture to a metropolis which is already a fitness conscious city. Apart from the regulars like Marathon Expo this year also saw the release of “Possible Dream”, a coffee-table book on the story of Mumbai Marathon.
Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF
1. Laban Moiben KEN 2:10:48
2. Raji Assefa ETH 2:10:48 PB
3. John Kyui KEN 2:10:54
4. Gela Hailu ETH 2:11:32
5. Nixon Maschichin KEN 2:11:37
6. Siraj Gena ETH 2:12:33
7. Benjamin Korir KEN 2:12:51
8. Othaniel Phahlane RSA 2:14:55 PB
9. Pius Dominic Ondoro KEN 2:14:56
10. Henry Cherono KEN 2:14:59
11. Philemon Tarbei KEN 2:16:52
12. Ram Singh Yadav IND 2:16:59 PB
13. Joseph Mbithi KEN 2:17:01
14. Abdisa Sorri ETH 2:18:17
15. Elam Singh IND 2:18:27 PB
16. Luke Kibet KEN 2:18:36
17. John Mutai KEN 2:24:17
18. T.A. Rajesh IND 2:24:25
19. Lyngkhoi Binning IND 2:24:39
20. Karan Singh IND 2:27:56
1. Netsanet Achamo Abeyo ETH 2:26:12 PB (New Course Record)
2. Fatuma Sado Dergo ETH 2:30:20
3. Makda Harun ETH 2:30:47
4. Ayelu Lemma Geda ETH 2:32:10 PB
5. Roman Gebregessese ETH 2:34:18
6. Fantu Jimma ETH 2:34:27
7. Ehitu Kiros Reda ETH 2:34:50 PB
8. Tadesse Defa Girma ETH 2:36:12
9. Worknesh Tola ETH 2:36:18
10. Marta Markos ETH 2:36:51
11. Aberesh Nesga Bedasa ETH 2:37:17
12. Radiya Adlo ETH 2:37:34
13. Lydia Rutto KEN 2:37:38 PB
14. Galume Chala ETH 2:40:55
15. Taemo Shumye ETH 2:50:25
16. Lalita Babbar IND 2:53:35
17. Kiran Tiwari IND 2:53:56
18. Tigist Kifle ETH 2:56:03
19. Preethi L. Rao IND 3:01:34
20. Jyoti Gawate IND 3:05:56
1. Soji Mathew IND 1:05:29 PB
2. Ashish Singh IND 1:05:31 PB
3. Man Singh IND 1:06:27
1. Priyanka Singh Patel IND 1:21:55
2. Vijaymala Patil IND 1:22:25
3. Supriya Patil IND 1:23:15