Ethiopia’s Hurisa leads star cast as Mumbai Marathon returns

Defending men’s champion Derara Hurisa of Ethiopia will lead the star cast at the Tata Mumbai Marathon on January 15 as the World Athletics Gold Label Road Race returns after a two-year pandemic-forced break.

Ethopian runner Derara Hurisa.

Ethopian runner Derara Hurisa. | Photo Credit: AADESH CHOUDHARI

Defending men’s champion Derara Hurisa of Ethiopia will lead the star cast at the Tata Mumbai Marathon on January 15 as the World Athletics Gold Label Road Race returns after a two-year pandemic-forced break.

Defending men’s champion Derara Hurisa of Ethiopia will lead the star cast at the Tata Mumbai Marathon here on January 15 as the World Athletics Gold Label Road Race returns after a two-year pandemic-forced break.

Hurisa is unlikely to have an easy run this time around with more than a dozen runners in the fray holding personal best timings of 2:08:09 seconds -- the course record he set in 2020.

With a total of 12 men and seven women with personal best timings under the course records competing here, the elite field for the USD 405,000 prize-money event looks extremely competitive, but Hurisa said he is “up for the challenge”.

The event will also see more than 55,000 amateurs competing across six categories in Asia’s premier event.

The winners in the elite men’s and women’s sections will be richer by USD 45,000 each, while receive a further incentive of USD 15,000 if they break the course record.

“I’m up for the challenge and have set my sights on the title,” said Hurisa, who clinched the 2021 Guadalajara Marathon in Mexico with a time of 2:12:28.

The men’s field also incudes Hurisa’s compatriots Ayele Abshero and Hayle Lemi and Kenya’s Philemon Rono, a training partner of the legendary Eliud Kipchoge.

Abshero was the runners-up here in 2020, 11 seconds adrift of Hurisa. He has a personal best of 2:04:23, which makes him the fastest in the field. With a personal best of 2:04:33, Lemi is the second fastest in the group.

Rono, on the other hand, finished sixth at the 2019 Boston Marathon and won the Toronto Marathon the same year in 2:05:00.

In the elite women’s section, seven runners hold personal best timings under the course record of 2:24:33 set by Valentine Kipketer in 2013, with Dera Dida (Ethiopia), Sharon Cherop (Kenya) and Rahma Tusa (Ethiopia) leading the charge on their debut here.

Silver medallist at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships, Dida won the 2022 Bejaia Half Marathon in 71:17.

Cherop won the marathon bronze at the 2011 World Championships and emerged victorious at the 2012 Boston Marathon.

Kenya’s Sheila Chepkech is the dark horse. She won the 2022 Nairobi Marathon in 02:27:04.

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