Sudha Singh ran alone to a hat-trick of wins among the Indian elite women's marathon runners. The steeplechase specialist, banking on willpower after recovering from a fractured thigh and endurance in the longer distance, finished the TMM 2020 women marathon in 2:45:30 for number one place among locals, 31st overall.
Srinu Bugatha, ended 13th overall behind the Africans in the men's elite marathon, but topped the Indian chart, with a time of 2:18:44.
Indian Railways distance runner, Sudha, expressed satisfaction with the outcome. “I focussed on finishing first (among Indians) here and am delighted to complete a hat-trick (of wins) in Mumbai,” said the Olympian and Arjuna awardee, for whom running a marathon is an option to be explored in the Olympic year. Women qualifying time for Tokyo Games is 2:29:30. The former is richer by Rs 5,00,000 (purse for fastest Indian).
In contrast to Sudha’s solo run, Bugutha was not able to take advantage of Kenyan pacemakers loping ahead with reference to focus on Olympic qualifying (2:11:30). The Army runner switched from half-marathon to the long distance to take advantage of a faster field of international runners and personal form.
“My focus was trying to qualify in men's marathon for Tokyo and thought this year was time to try. The pacemakers were there in front. My body felt tight and did not respond in the final stage.”
Competing against a high-quality field, he expectedly finished the first among Indian elite marathoners. “I ran 1:04 in the half-marathon and have a personal best 1:03, hence tried to find out my standing in the marathon.” He raced against a classy field, the first seven foreigners returning a time faster than the Olympic men qualifying standard (2:11:30) for Tokyo. “I need to prepare better next time,” said the Indian number one, who was also richer by Rs 5,00,000.
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