The Indian elite athletes fared the best in the men's half-marathon one-way dash from Bandra to CST with Coorg-based BC Tilak shattering the course record. Tilak, who plans to graduate to the full marathon next year, breasted the tape in an hour, four minutes and 45 seconds and was followed by Railways' Soji Mathew (1:05:04), his Army Sports Institute (ASI) teammate Kheta Ram (1:05:32) and Parsaram Bhol (1:05:32), all inside the old mark of 1:05:44 set by two-time winner Surender Singh in 2008.
The ASI trio of Bining Lyngkhoi, Angad Kumar and Ram Singh Yadav expectedly topped the full marathon in that order, but none of them, however, succeeded in finishing under the targeted 2:18:00 sec timing. "I paced myself with an African runners at the start but I couldn't generate enough power till I reached the 25k mark," said Lyngkhoi, who finished 20th overall (2:21.16).
Kumar (2:24:32) and Yadav (2:25:33) too were at a loss for words for their poor timings. "Maybe the timing pressure played on our minds," said Kumar. Yadav, in fact, was not unhappy. "After the hamstring injury I had 12 days back, it feel good that I was able to finish this well," he said.
Indian women full marathoners, aside from the controversial finish by two, saw the top four also finish in the top-20 overall, although none breached the three-hour barrier.
Maharashtra's Jyoti Gawate, who was runner-up in the Indian category last year, pulled away to finish nearly three minutes ahead of second finishing reigning champion Shastri Devi. At 3:05.30, Gawate was a good 16th overall. Also impressive was pint-sized Anuja Bijagare who finished her first full marathon run of her professional career in fourth position behind the experienced M Sudha.
Ethiopians light up Mumbai morning
Sumil VS adds: It was to be their show of strength against their Kenyan brothers. And, nothing, it seemed, could have stopped the Ethiopians, not even the brief chaos created by the security dog of Trident Hotel in the initial minutes.
And their perseverance and strong teamwork paid off 2 hours 09 minutes and 54 seconds later as one of them, 24-year-old Girima Assefa, his hands reaching for the sky, broke the white tape at the finish line. To add to it their women made it a Super Sunday as Koren Yal, Merima Mohammed and Elfenesh Alemu completed another year of Ethiopian domination in the full-marathon.
The athletes enjoyed running in the race that began amid chilling breeze at 7.40am on Sunday.