Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya emerged victorious in the men's elite category, while 2008 winner Ethiopia's Aselefech Mergia won the title in the women's event as more than 30,000 Delhiites braved a chilly Sunday morning to run at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon here today.
Last year's winner in the men's section, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia pulled out of the event at the last hour due to poor form and injury problem. Mutai, a long distance runner who specialises in road race competitions, faced stiff competition from Ethiopians Lelisa Desisa and first timer Yacob Yarso, who finished second and third respectively.
Mutai, who recently clocked 2:04:55 at the Rotterdam Marathon, the second fastest time of the year, ran 59 minutes and 38 minutes to cover the 21.097 km and pocketed $25,000 winner's purse. Desisa, who was matching the pace of Mutai most of the distance, failed to accelerate towrads the end and clocked 59 minutes and 39 seconds to settle for a silver.
Yarso clocked 1:00:07 to win the bronze. In the women's event, Mergia led an Ethiopian sweep, winning the race in one hour, eight minutes and 35 seconds with her compatriots Merima Mohammed (1:08:36) and Yimer Wude (1:08:36) coming second and third respectively.
Armyman Irappa D Akki (1:04:32) finished first among Indian men and overall 20th in the race. Railways' Santosh Kumar (1:04:35) and Ratti Ram Saini (1:04:35) came second and third among Indian runners. Lalita Babar (1:18:05) was the fastest woman among Indians followed by Kiran Tiwari (1:18:55) and Geeta Rani Tushir (1:20:13). Each of the Indian top finishers would be richer by $4000.