With less than a week to go for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, the buzz is about the course record. The athlete who breaks the world record takes home a bonus of $25,000. For breaking the course record, the bonus is $10,000. This is an added attraction for the competitors over and above the prize money that’s up for grabs.
“Big money and a strong field generally turn out to be a perfect platform for excellent performance. Road running has become big business and everyone want to take home big money,” said race director, Hugh Jones, a retired British distance runner, who has a personal best of 2:09.24 in marathon running.
But his concern is the climate. “The participants will have to tackle the weather which isn’t ideal for running at world record pace,” he said. Perhaps, he is right. The world’s leading sub-60 performances this year have come in the cooler climes of Europe.
This includes the 58:47 by Ethiopia’s Atsedu Tsegay in March at the Prague Half Marathon. Apart from Tsegay, who has confirmed his participation, there are other elite foreign athletes with sub-60 timings who will turn out on Sept 30. Jones, however, is hoping the temperature will dip in the coming days. “Hope the weather becomes better,” he said. The weather will not be hostile when the race starts at 6.30am, but it will get taxing as the sun goes up. Tsegay had overcome windy conditions in Prague, and Jones is hoping he can tackle humidity.
For the record:
Delhi Half Marathon record (Elite Men): 59:15, 2008, Deriba Merga (Eth)
Elite Women: 66:54, 2009, Mary Keitany (Ken)