Mumbai Marathon: Hendrick Ramaala to set the pace

The South African Ramaala — who represented his nation at Atlanta and Sydney Olympics in 1996 and 2000 respectively — won the men’s event in 2004, when Mumbai Marathon started.

Interestingly, every finisher in the full marathon will be given a special Inspiration Medal.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Olympic marathoner, Hendrick Ramaala, will set the pace for Indian runners at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018. Elite competitors taking part this year, the 15th edition, include Thonakkal Gopi, recent winner at the Asian Marathon Championship and Nitendra Singh Rawat, holder of the course record among Indians.

The South African Ramaala — who represented his nation at Atlanta and Sydney Olympics in 1996 and 2000 respectively — won the men’s event in 2004, when Mumbai Marathon started. He went on to grab the first place at New York marathon the same year. Ramaala’s presence will add attention to the Indian runners’ efforts to be faster.

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Pace-setters are athletes who set the momentum for other runners and get off at a designated point, allowing those in the lead pack following him/her to build on the pace and clock fast timings. Gopi had created a sensation last year by winning the Asian Marathon, held at Dongguan, China, with a time of two hours, 15 minutes and 48 seconds, identical to Rawat’s course record time set in 2016.

Gopi also has a personal best 2:15:25 at the Rio Olympics 2016 when finishing 25th in the men’s race. The women’s race will have known names like Sudha Singh, 3000m steeplechase ace. Athletes from 30 nations, apart from a contingent of Indians, will take part in the Mumbai Marathon on January 21. Interestingly, every finisher in the full marathon will be given a special Inspiration Medal.

Designed by Innovations Lab, two medals have been fused into one (symbolic of the finisher and any person who inspired him/her to run the marathon). The IAAF Silver Label race, held under the aegis of Athletics Federation of India, has a new sponsor in the Tata Motors. The lead car at the event will be the Tata Nexon SUV.

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As per information from Procam International, the event organiser, 6, 955 runners will take part in the marathon and 14,950 in the half-marathon. A new event, the Timed 10K run has attracted 1,652 competitors for the inaugural run this year.