Ethiopia's elite marathoners - Brihanu Testome, Ayele Abshero, Derara Hurisa chatted among themselves striding along the route at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020, and Hurisa seized control of the race to finish in a record tome of two hours, eight minutes and nine seconds. The previous course record was of 2:08:35, set by Gideon Kipketer in 2016.
Hurisa earned $45,000 and a bonus of $15,000 for the record-breaking run and also dragged second-placed Ayele (2:08:20) and third-placed Testome (2:08:26) under the earlier course mark timing.
The first seven runners finished under 2:10 in men's elite category in this IAAF Gold Label event, run along a slightly revised course, in cooler January weather as compared to earlier editions.
The elite women winner, Ethiopian Amane Beriso (2:24:51), did not get on top of conditions and struggled in the last phase. She was so far ahead of the others that with no challenger in sight, steamed to the tape, but narrowly missed out on the course record of 2:24:33s. She also pocketed $45,000 for the win.
Long-limbed pace-setter Sylvester Kipketer loped ahead of Amane from start to finish, and pushed the Ethiopian to battle past fatigue and put in a burst to the tape as the course record was in grasp till the end. Amane was so far ahead that Rodah Jepkorir finished three minutes later in 2:27:14 for the silver medal, while Haven Hailu bagged the bronze in 2:28:56.
The elite men race turned into an engrossing tussle, with seven runners remaining in the lead pack after the pace-setters had exited. Defending champion Cosmas Lagat from Kenya also faded away, supposedly due to injury.
“My body felt good at the 30 kms mark and thoughts in my mind changed from finishing to running in course record breaking time.” Running in borrowed shoes, Hurisa stole the show with a stunning burst to his countrymen behind.
The champion is a cross country runner with no marathon experience. “I knew Ayele is experienced over this distance and looked up to him to show the way. I kept telling him to take charge of the race. Sensing that he was holding back, I decided to finish,” said Hurisa, a World Junior Athletics participant for Ethiopia in cross country.
The Nike Vaporfly shoes he used were borrowed from Abraham Girma, a fellow elite runner. “I lost my regular shoes in flight and am waiting for them,” said the champion, who conceded he was to decide what he would do with the $60,000 he earned.
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