Mumbai marathon: Amane Gobena, Solomon Deksisa dodge their way to victory

Elite runners weren’t happy with the organisers of the Mumbai marathon, saying casual runners and metro construction work will be a hindrance

other sports Updated: Jan 21, 2018 23:43 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai marathon,Tata Mumbai Marathon,Amane Gobena
Casual runners and metro construction work hindered the Mumbai marathon, said elite runners at the event.(HT file photo)

The 15th edition of the Mumbai Marathon turned out to be a delight for the amateur running enthusiasts, but for the elite, Sunday morning’s 42.195km run was full of hurdles and disruptions as Ethiopians Solomon Deksisa and Amane Gobena lived up to their ‘favourites’ tag to clinch the respective men’s and women’s titles.

The elite marathon kicked-off at 7:10am as scheduled. But as the professionals made their way through the streets of South Mumbai, closing in on the Bandra-Worli sea link — about 15km into the marathon — they were confronted with a variety of complications.

The weather, the pace-setters and the heavy contingent of joggers had all begun to play their roles in dictating who the winner would be.

Gobena — the fastest woman to take the track on Sunday — finished the race in 2 hours 25 minutes and 49 seconds in first place. Last year’s champion Bornes Kitur of Kenya finished in second at 2:28:48 as Ethopian Shoko Genemo followed suit at 2:29:41 for third place.

But for Gobena and Kitur, the latest edition of city’s esteemed race was not as smooth as expected.

Gobena chose to give drinks a miss at the 5K, 15K and 30K marks due to the energy and seconds that might have been wasted in maneuvering around the joggers who had begun to stray into the path of the elites. In fact, Gobena only managed to overtake Bornes and build a sizeable lead during a water-break the latter had taken.

“There were a lot of people on the road and it was very difficult to get water. But I knew I was going to win the race by the 25k mark. In fact, I was even thinking of going for the record but there were just too many people. It was difficult to focus on the race. The temperature had also begun to rise and so I could not push myself after 35k. It was a difficult race,” Gobena opined of the marathon.

Kitur, who even managed to better her timing from last year’s win, also shared similar sentiments. She said: “The heat towards the end started rising a lot and it got very difficult. The construction work was also a problem in the final stretch (the final stretch was altered due to metro construction work). There were a lot of corners in the end.”

In the men’s run, Shumet Akalnaw of Ethiopia and Joshua Kipkorir of Kenya joined first-placed Deksisa on the podium, respectively. And although the winner and third placed Kipkorir had declared that they would beat the course record, it could not be achieved on Sunday.

Deksisa ran the course in 2 hours 9 minutes and 34 seconds after having led from the 35km mark. Akalnaw came in a close second at 2:10:00 with Kipkorir joining them at the finish 30 seconds later.

“I expected to win and I won it. This is my first marathon win and it will motivate me to participate in other races,” said Deksisa of his triumph.

“Shumet was behind me and was close. So in the last 700m I did not realise about the turns,” he added.

Kipkorir said that part of his undoing was the pace-setters’ reluctance to push the runners enough.

“The problem was the pace-setters. They did not want to push. I told them several times ‘Push! Push!’ And then one of them dropped out at 15km and another 25km. I tried to push the runners once the pace-setters finally dropped out (at 28k) but they did not come. And at about 39k I started to feel pain in stomach and then went with my own pace,” said Kipkorir.

With conditions and factors varying from the first hour to the second, Mumbai’s course record yet stands to be broken.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 22:41 IST