With strong frontrunning performances, Kenyan Philip Rugut and Russian Irina Timofeyeva did claimed the inaugural titles at the Hutch Delhi Half Marathon today (16 October).
With a personal best of 59:53, Rugut, 28, was the clear favourite for the men’s title. He lived up to expectations, running an aggressive race from the start, leading at eight kilometres in 22:39. He broke from the pack at 14k (40:44), reached 18 kilometres the clear leader in 52:37, en route to a season's best 1:01:54, pocketing USD $20,000 in the process.
Compatriot Duncan Kibet (1:02:30) finished second. Tanzanian Martin Sulle (1:02:43) overpowered the stiff challenge from Wilberforce Talel and Julius Sugut to claim third.
Timofeyeva is a familiar face to Indian fans. Seventh at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships here (11th in Edmonton this year) the Russian clocked a career best 1:10:35 to win the women’s race ahead of Kenyans Rita Jeptoo (1:10:41) and Helen Kimutai (1:10:43).
The Indian capital became an important destination for the world’s distance running enthusiasts when the city hosted the World Half Marathon Championships. The success of the World Athletics Series event prompted the Delhites to promote an annual event of their own and thus the Hutch Delhi Half Marathon becomes a reality today. New Delhi saw a marathon revolution with the annual Rath Marathon back in 1982. Several other Indian cities have join the band through the years with international marathons now being organized in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore.
A total prize purse of USD 150,000 was awarded to the top-10 finishers in various categories. Former World and Olympic champion Daley Thompson, Indian shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathoreb -silver medalist in Athens Olympics - and Legendary Cricketer Kapil Dev, who captained the triumphant Indian team to the 1983 World Cup, served as event ambassadors for the Delhi race.
A 6.9 Km Great Delhi Run and 4.3 Km Senior Citizens’ Run were held concurrently to raise charity for several causes. IAAF Council Member Mr. Suresh Kalmadi and Delhi Chief Minister Ms. Susheela Dixit flagged off the races and distributed the prizes to the winners.
Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF
1. Philip Rugut, KEN 1:01:54
2. Duncan Kibet, KEN 1:02:30
3. Martin Sulle, TAN 1:02:42
1. Irina Timofeyeva, RUS 1:10:35
2. Rita Jeptoo, KEN 1:10:41
3. Helen Kimutai, KEN 1:10:43