Mumbai Marathon: Kenyan Kipketer breaks record

Kenyan Gideon Kipketer won the men’s event in a course record time of 2:08:35 (bettering 2:09:32 by Jackson Kiprop here in 2013). He strode alone from 33-km point and steamed home in the fastest time clocked in 13 years at the IAAF Gold Label event.

Kenya’s Gideon Kipketer (C) poses with Ethipia’s Seboka Dibaba (left), who came in second and Kenya’s Marius Kimutai (right) who finished third at the Mumbai marathon.   -  AP

Kenyan Gideon Kipketer won the men’s event in a course record time of 2:08:35 (bettering 2:09:32 by Jackson Kiprop here in 2013). He strode alone from 33-km point and steamed home in the fastest time clocked in 13 years at the IAAF Gold Label event.

Kipketer’s pace in the first half hurt the others in a pack of 18 runners, Seboka Dibaba recovered energy to stagger in at second place among elite runners, clocking 2:09:20 to also better than Kiprop’s winning time two years ago at this course. The Kenyan and Ethiopian Dibaba will share the $15,000 bonus for bettering the course record.

Nitendra Singh Rawat, T Gopi and Kheta Ram finished as the top three ranked Indians under the Olympic qualification mark for Rio Games 2016. The world athletics body, IAAF, announced 2:17:00 as qualification criteria for distance runners.

Nitendra (2:15:48), who finished 10th overall, became the second Indian after Ram Singh Yadav in 2008 to finish among the first 10 in a full marathon.

Woman marathoner Shuko Genemo of Ethiopia took the women’s crown by clocking 2:27:50, ahead of Bornes Kitur (2:32:00) and Valentine Kipketer, elder sister of men’s winner Gideon, in third place (2:34:07).

Sudha Singh, a steeplechaser with podium finishes at the Asian level, showed more endurance than elite runners to earn an overall seventh place in women’s marathon (2:39:28). Lalita Babar, whose pet track event is the steeplechase, came in 10th overall and second among Indians (2:41:55). O P Jaisha finished third (2:43:26). All three are employed with Railways and took part in the National Cross Country Championships in Bengal recently.

Sudha and Lalita’s timing at SCMM 2016 is below the IAAF-stipulated Olympic qualification timing for women marathoners (2:42:00). Jaisha, with a personal best 2:34:43 timed at Beijing World Athletics Championships last year, is already assured of a marathon place, if she wants to compete. Lalita is clear about focussing on the 3000m women’s steeplechase and used the marathon to build endurance. The Indian women’s topper has a personal best 2:35:35 in marathon, clocked at 2015 World Championships.