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33rd Pune International Marathon: Pune runs for fun; African pros run to win

Debebe Zike completed the run in two hours, 17 minutes and 17 seconds

pune Updated: Dec 03, 2018 18:57 IST
Jigar Hindocha
Jigar Hindocha
Hindustan Times, Pune
Physically challenged participants also participated with their wheel chair in the Pune International Marathon on Sunday.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

A barber by profession and the son of a farmer, Ethiopian Debebe Zike ran with grit and determination to win the 33rd Pune International Marathon on Sunday at the Baburao Sanas Ground. Zike, who runs marathons every three months, completed the run in two hours, 17 minutes and 17 seconds and this is his first international marathon victory.

From flag off to finish, Zike stayed ahead of all fellow runners throughout. “I liked running here. Route and environment is good. Here it was lower altitude than what I am used to while running in the other countries,” explained Zike.

From left - Bekele Asefa, Besha Getachew, Zike Debebe winners of 33rd Pune International full (Men) Marathon receiving price by the hands of Suresh Kalmadi on Sunday. ( Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO )

Getachew Besah, also from Ethiopia, the defending champion, came in second with a timing of two hours, 18 minutes and seven seconds. “I did not like the route this year. It was very up and down,” complained Besah.

Third spot was grabbed by another Ethiopian runner, Asefa Bekele, who completed the run in two hours, 18 minutes and 38 seconds. Among the women, Chepkogei Pascalia from Kenya who has just started to compete in full marathons, took top spot with the timings of two hours fifty minutes and 27 seconds. “Before this marathon I had taken part in the Delhi half marathon, where I finished second. This is first time I won the full marathon,” said Pascalia, who had finished fourth in the 32nd Pune International Marathon. “The route was a bit difficult, but I enjoyed it. It had lot of slopes,” said Pascalia, who also participated in the half marathon event at Hyderabad in February.

Participants seen running at the marathon on Sunday. ( Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO )

Second and third positions were conquered by Ethiopian runners -- Mekonnen Belew and Tilahun Fekede. Belew finished the run in two hours 52 minutes and 30 seconds, while Tilahun Fekede completed the run in two hours 53 minutes and 50 seconds.

City’s fun runners take 5-10km very seriously

When the 33rd Pune International Marathon began on Sunday morning at 5 am, the temperature was 15 degrees Celsius. The Baburao Sanas sports ground was filled in with a fair number of runners for the marathon.After the professionals began the 42.2-km and 21.2-km races, it was the turn of the amateurs to get into running mode for the five and 10km runs.

Children, youth, parents and grandparents were all on the run, most of them with headphones on. At the finish line, an hour-and-a-half later, running mode switched to zumba and selfie time.

“I ran 10 km. The route was amazing and I enjoyed every moment; not only me, but my husband and mother-in-law who is 71 also took part in the 10k run,” says Jyoti Kajale, a 51-year-old basketball player .Amit Pednekar has been taking part in the Pune Marathon for the last five years, either in the five-k or the 10-km run.

“The route was best when we compared it to previous years. It has improved a lot, but speaking honestly, I feel there could had been better arrangements at the venue. If waste bins were properly demarcated then it could have helped to keep the ground clean,” Pednekar says.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 16:46 IST