Girima Assefa wins Mumbai Marathon

Ethiopia's Girima Assefa reacts after winning the Mumbai Marathon in Mumbai on Sunday. (AP Photos)
MUMBAI, January 16 (AGENCIES): Ethiopian male marathoners relished cooler morning conditions to lower the course records at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011. Boto Segaye Wolde remained in the picture till the last lung-bursting run to the tape, beaten to second place (two hours, nine minutes, 57 seconds) by countryman Girima Assefa (2:09:54). Kenyan Patrick Muriuki (2:10:00) loped to a third place finish behind the two Ethiopians engaged in a duel for first spot. All three bettered the course record of 2: 11:51 set in 2009 by Kenneth Mugara.
Girima explained that he stayed back in the lead pack as the pace-setters were doing their job and made his move near the turn for the tape in the men’s marathon for elite athletes. Wolde positioned himself on the shoulders of leading runners for a major part, went ahead for a brief while before pipped at the finish. Koren and Merima sprinted to the finish at the end of an exhausting women’s marathon, the former inching ahead near the tape. “I lost to an Ethiopian, so it doesn’t matter,” said Merima about clocking one second behind the women’s winner.
The elite women marathoners too saw Ethiopians grabbing first three places, Koren Yal (2:26:56) managing to summon energy reserves to pip Merima Mohammed (2:26:57). Elfenenesh Alemu steamed in third clocking 2:29:04. All three bettered Mulu Seboka’s 2008 time of 2:30:04. The men’s and women’s champions in the elite category will gain $ 36,000 each in keeping with the Gold Label status conferred on the event by IAAF. Procam International is the marathon promoter.
Army Sports Institute, Pune, runners dominated the Indian section in men’s marathon overall, Lyngkhoi Binning defending his title as the nation’s best in SCMM with a time of 2:21:16, lowered the course record standing in the name of Ram Singh Yadav (2:18:03) established in 2009. He fell short of the 2:18 target set by ASI for its athletes. ASI’s Angad Kumar and Ram Singh got the next two places. B.C. Tilak (ASI) and Priyanka Singh Patel (Indian Railways) finished on top in half-marathon men’s and women’s event respectively.