Mumbai Marathon: Gopi and Sudha are fastest Indians

Thonakal Gopi and Sudha Singh claimed the top honours among the Indian participants at the Mumbai Marathon.

Gold medallist Gopi Thonakal (centre), silver medal winner Nitendra Singh Rawat (left) and bronze medal winner Srinu Bugatha pose after the Mumbai Marathon.   -  PTI

Olympic marathoners Thonakal Gopi (2 hrs, 16 min, 51 seconds) and Sudha Singh (2:48:32) claimed the first place among the Indian participants in the men's and women's marathon respectively at the 15th Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018.

The elite runners went out with the aim of setting a new course record, but failed to do so in the hot and humid conditions that affected even the pace-makers.

Nitendra Rawat, who finished second behind Army teammate Gopi in the Indians category and 12th overall, felt the men and women elite marathon races could begin earlier when temperature is cooler.

“We can aim for the course record when the run starts 6.00 am, not at 7.10 am when the sun is up a few kilometres into the race.” He finished second in 2:16:54 (owner of  Indian course record 2:15:48).

Gopi generated his own pace during the run to victory, crossing the tape one second later than the 10th runner overall. (Kenyan Elliud Barnegetuny clocked 2:16:50 and will earn $1500) Gopi bagged Rs 5,00,000 as the topper among locals in full marathon.  “I aimed for the course record till 30 kms and realised that our pace-setter was slowing down. We ran without anyone to pace us after 32 kms till the finish,” he said.

(L-R) Jyoti Gawte, Sudha Singh and Parul Chaudhary pose with their medals after the Mumbai Marathon.   -  Prashant Waydande



India’s two leading marathoners were engaged in a race to the tape, striding shoulder-to-shoulder before Gopi upped his speed. “Having realised that establishing a new record was out of reach, finishing first became my objective,” he said. Interestingly, Gopi was the designated pace-setter in 2015 for his Army Sports Institute teammates. He finished second and cleared the Olympic qualification for the 2016 Rio Games, where he secured a personal best 2:15:25.

Gopi’s Olympic best, clocked when finishing 25th against world-class competition, would have earned him a coveted eight place overall, ahead of many African runners in Sunday's marathon. “The Delhi marathon is my next destination,” said the Kerala-born marathoner.

The Indian women runners in the full marathon had a better experience with former New York marathon champion, Hendrick Ramaala, doing his job to the runners satisfaction. “Our pacemaker tried his best to spur us on, the heat affected us,” reasonsed Sudha. The South African, men’s champion here in 2004, urged fans to cheer for their fellow runners, in a bid to motivate them to increase the pace.

Jyoti Gawate (2:50:47) and Fazul Chowdhary (2:53:26) finished second and third respectively. Srini Bugatha gained the third place in men’s category, in what was his first marathon.

The half-marathon (21kms) races was won by Pardeep Singh and Sanjivani Jadhav.

Results:

Full marathon (men)--- 1. Thonakal Gopi (2:16:51). 2. Nitender Rawat (2:1654), 3. Srinu Bugatha (2:23:56).

Full marathon (women)--- Sudha Singh (2:48:32), Jyoti Gawate (2:50:47), Parul Chaudhary (2:53:26).

Half marathon (men)--- Pardeep Singh (1:05:42), Shankar Mann Thapa (1:06:40), Deepak Kumbhar (1:06:54).

Half-marathon (women)--- Sanjeevani Jadhav (1:26:24), Monika Athare (1:27:15), Juma Khaturn (1:27:48).