Kenyan Evans Cheruiyot, with a personal best of 2:06.25 leads the high quality international men’s elite athlete field, which has no less than 16 athletes who have personal bests of below2:10, promising a highly competitive and fast men’s race in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which will be flagged off from CST, here, on Sunday, January 19.
According to Jos Hermens of Global Sports Communication, Netherlands, the elite athletes’ coordinators, a timing of 2:08 is realistic for the men, given the right weather conditions. “We strongly feel that this year’s men’s elite athlete field will be able to break last year’s course record of 2:09.32 as we have a balanced mix of experience and young talent,” said Jos.
Cheruiyot is a former Chicago Marathon winner, who also excels in the half marathon, having run five times below 60.00 in his career. As the fastest man in the field, he is one of the favourites to run away with the crown.
The second fastest man is Ethiopian Eshetu Wendimu, with a personal best of 2:06.46. A steady performer, Wendimu has run most of his marathons below 2:09, while finishing in the top 3. Countryman Hailu Mekonnen is another of the favourites, with a personal best of 2:07.35. Hailu has only run seven marathons in his career, from which he has five sub-2:10 times and three sub2:08. He is also the winner of the Tokyo Marathon in 2011, while he won the Hengshui Marathon in 2012 while setting a new course record.
The other men to look out for will be Kenyans Stephen Chebogut, winner of the Istanbul Marathon on a hilly course, Ishhimael Busendich and former Mumbai Marathon winners, John Kelai (2007, 2008), Kenneth Mungara (2009) and Girma Assefa (2011).
Among the women, Ethiopian Dinknesh Mekash leads the field with a personal best of 2:25.09. Dinknesh, runner-up last year in Mumbai, improved her personal best in Paris 2013 and is expected to clock around 2:25 when she runs in Mumbai. Dinknesh leads a strong Ethiopian contingent, among them names like Etalemahu Kidane (PB 2:25.49), Asnakech Mengistu (PB 2:25.50) and Aberu Mekuria (PB 2:26.07), who also finished third last year.
The Kenyan challenge will come from Eunice Kales, and outsider Gladys Kipsoi, a half marathon specialist, making her full marathon debut. Namibian Helalia Johannes and Ukranian Yuliya Ruban are the other names in the reckoning.
There will be six pacemakers in the men’s race and two in the women’s race helping the runners keep to course record pace.
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