Ethiopians shines in Mumbai Marathon by Breaking Records in Both Men’s and Woman’s

by yeEthiopiaforums

MUMBAI: Ethiopians Girma Assefa and Koren Yal led a near clean-sweep of the men’s and women’s top three positions in the $325,000 eighth Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon here today besides spearheading a successful assault on the course records in both events.

24-year-old Assefa from Addis Ababa took the men’s honours and also led a 1-2 sweep for the African nation known for its long distance runners by finishing the 42.195-km course from Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus in south Mumbai to suburban Bandra and back in a new mark of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 54 seconds.

His compatriot Botor Segaye Wolde came in second in a tight finish in 2:09:57s, while Kenya’s Patrick Muriuki secured the third position with a timing of 2:10:00s. All three dipped under the two-year course record of 2:11:51 set by Kenyan Kenneth Mungara.

Delhi Commonwealth Games champion and two-time winner John Kelai belied pre-race expectations and finished a poor sixth in 2:11:05s, also under the old course record, in cool weather conditions that helped the runners.

Girma Assefa and Koren Yal    of Ethiopia

Girma Assefa and Koren Yal of Ethiopia broke course record in Mumbai marathon

“The weather conditions were good. The pace setters did a good job,” said Assefa, who also went under his previous personal best time of 2:09:58s set in Berlin two years ago. Today, he had run only his fourth marathon and the victory made him richer by $36,000.

In the women’s category, 24-year-old Yal led an all Ethiopian top-three finish to complete the race in 2:26:56, breaking the course record set by countrywoman Mulu Seboka in 2008 and pick up the winner’s prize of $36,000.

Merima Mohammed was second clocking 2:29:04s, while Elfemesh Alemu finished third with a timing of 2:30:04s.

“The weather conditions were good though it became a bit hot later on. It was windy too which was helpful,” said Yal, who idolises her countryman and legendary runner Haile Gebrselassie.

The men’s race was a close one among a bunch of 15 runners. Kenya’s Simon Kasimili set the early pace and led after the six-km stretch, which he retained after 10kms at Haji Ali.

However, at the half-way stage, his compatriot Kipkemei Mutai surged ahead only to be overtaken by Muriuki at the end of the iconic Rajiv Gandhi Bandra-Worli sea-link.

After the end of the 32-km mark, it was Wolde who ran into contention, but Assefa saved enough fuel in his tank to move ahead when it mattered most to clinch the title.

Read more: Times of India

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