Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu and Kenya’s Bornes Kitur triumphed at the 14th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2017 on Sunday, winning in 2:09:32 and 2:29:02 respectively to take home first prize cheques of USD$42,000.
It was a close finish for the Indian men at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon this year with the finalists neck to neck till the 30 km mark. Sprinting across the finish line, Kheta Ram came in first, clinching the title with a timing of 2:19:51.
Close on his heels was Bahadur Singh Dhoni who clocked his personal best and came in second with a timing of 2:19:57 and T H Luwang from Manipur who placed third with 2:21:19.
Racing across the finish line for the Indian elite women was Jyoti Gawte from Maharashtra who was confident in her abilities from the start and finished with a timing of 2:50:53. Next across was Shyamali Sing from West Bengal who practiced for only 15 days prior to the race as she wasn't well but pushed to compete and finished with a timing of 3:08:41. Coming in third was first timer in the elites Jigmet Dolma who broke her personal best to get to a podium finish with a timing of 3:14:38.
The Half Marathon which flagged off from the Worli Seaface promenade saw race favorites Lakshmanan G win the men’s title (1:05:05) and Monika Athare (1:19:13) confidently winning the women’s titles respectively. Tamil Nadu lad Lakshmanan
enjoyed the cool weather, and had just returned from a training camp in Bengaluru where he was training since November. For Athare, this is her 5th title this season having won in Bhopal, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Vasai-Virar.
Face of the SCMM John Abraham was present at the start line, cheering on all participants as they raced to a great start. The Bollywood fraternity was represented by Juhi Chawla for Clean Mumbai Foundation, politician Priya Dutt and actress Tara Sharma and Sonali Bendre, chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Tina Ambani who cheered on all participants and motivated them to run a better race. Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis graced the event along with Vijay Goel, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt. of India
India Inc. was represented by many CEOs as has been seen over the years. Anand Mahindra, Chairman & Managing Director Of Mahindra Group, Anil Ambani, V Vaidyanathan, CEO of Capital First and Co- Founders of Mint Walk, Nikhil Banerjee and Shiv Nandan Negi, Gagan Banga of Indiabulls are among scores of other CXOs who were present in their race gear.
Simbu, fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, confirmed his rising status in the world of marathon running by hitting the front with 800 metres to go and sprinting away for victory after a duel over the last five kilometres with Kenyan surprise package Joshua Kipkorir.
After a large group of 13 had passed through the halfway point in 1:04:49 the pace stayed steady to 30km, with the predicted finishing time remained close to 2:10:00, and seven men were still in the leading group at that point.
However, Kipkorir almost immediately injected a change of pace and quickly broke up the pack.
By 35km, Simbu was his only remaining rival. Kipkorir continued to push the pace with Simbu resolutely staying tucked behind him all the way, much to the Kenyan´s frustration as he started to periodically zig-zag across the road from 38km in an attempt to encourage Simbu to the fore.
However, with two kilometres to go, Kipkorir started to look visibly tired while the slighter figure of Simbu was noticeably far more relaxed and seemingly just waiting for his moment to strike.
When Simbu finally swung past his rival just inside the final kilometre immediately it was obvious he was going to clinch his first international win since 2012.
“I got my tactics from my coach, he said: ‘Use your brain, you don’t have to always lead’ reflected Simbu, explaining his race plan which led to him equalling the second-fastest winning time in the history of the race.
“I prepared well so I didn’t fear anything, whether we were running on the hills or on the flat. This course has some hills and quite a lot of turns so I didn’t break my personal best (of 2:09:19) but what was important today was my position.”
Kipkorir finished second in 2:09:50, taking more than three minutes off his previous best of 2:13:25; third was Kenya’s
Eliud Barngetuny in 2:10:39, a personal best by five seconds.
Kenya’s Levy Matebo, the fastest man in the race and one of the pre-race favourites, was one of the victims of his compatriot’s surge just after 30km and drifted back to eventually finish eighth in 2:13:05.
By contrast to the thrilling two-man battle over the final kilometres seven kilometres, Kitur stamped her authority on the women's race soon the halfway point and ran the majority of the second half on her own.
Four women, including Kitur, passed the halfway point in 1:14:03 but the 21-year-old Kenyan had opened up around a minute
lead by 30km and kept on extending her advantage over the remainder of the race.
“I was confident I could win because I knew the course after finishing second last year,” commented Kitur.
Ethiopian runners took the next two places behind Kitur, albeit at quite a distance.
Chaltu Tafa was more than four minutes in arrears but took second in 2:33:03 while Tigist Girma was third in 2:33:19.
Ethiopia’s Dinknesh Mekash, the pre-race favourite and fastest women on the start line as well as being the 2014 and 2015 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon winner, started to struggle just before the halfway point and finished a disappointing fifth in 2:36:44.
Promoted by Procam International, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is one of the largest sporting events in Asia and
India's biggest platform for charity.
With total prize monies of $387,000, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2017 is India’s richest road race. A full prize list can be seen here.
In addition, there were four other associated races on Sunday morning and an over 42,000 runners took to the streets of Mumbai in what has become an annual event on the third Sunday of January.
Following are the Provisional Results:
(Overall Full Marathon Elite Men): Alphonce Simbu (TAN) 02:09:32;
Joshua Kipkorir (KEN) 02:09:50; Eliud Barngetuny (KEN) 02:10:39;
Jacob Chesari (KEN) 02:11:36; Bonsa Dida (ETH) 02:11:55; Samuel
Mwanki (KEN) 02:12:26; Seboka Dibaba (ETH)02:12:37; Levy Matebo (KEN) 02:13:37;
Alex Saekwo (KEN) 02:13:16; Alfonce Kigen (KEN) 02:13:42
(Overall Full Marathon Elite Women): Bornes Kitur (KEN) 02:29:02;
Chaltu Tafa (ETH) 02:33:03; Tigist Girma (ETH) 02:33:19; Magdalena
Shauri (TAN) 02:34:51; Dinkesh Mekash (ETH) 02:36:44; Chaltu Chimdesa
(ETH) 02:36:45; Derbe Godana (ETH) 02:39:40; Mesirak Debilu (ETH) 02:46:30;
Jyoti Gawte (IND) 02:50:53; Niluka Rajasekara (SRI) 03:05:31
(Overall Full Marathon Indian Men): Kheta Ram 02:19:51;
Bahadur Singh Dhoni 02:19:57; T H Sanjith 02:21:19; Elam Singh02:21:27;
Rahul Kumar Pal 02:21:43
(Overall Full Marathon Indian Women): Jyoti Gawte 02:50:53;
Shwamali Sing 03:08:41; Jigmet Dolma 03:14:38
(Indian Half Marathon Men): Lakshmanan G 01:05:05; Sachin
Patil 01:06:22; Deepak Kumbhar 01:06:28
(Indian Half Marathon Women): Monika Athare 01:19:13;
Minakshi Patil 01:20:53; Anuradha Singh 01:25:20
JABONG Run in Costume:
1st Being US-Mitesh Shah & Group (Theme-No Smoking)
2nd Shrimad Rajchandra Love n Care (Theme-Free Life)