Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana, who is also the current woman world athlete of the year, clinched gold in the event, whereas her compatriot Berhanu Legese won the men's event.
Despite the smoggy weather conditions and poor air quality, thousands of Delhiites participated in the Delhi Half Marathon held earlier today. And the ones who emerged victorious this time, braving the situation are the Ethiopians. Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, who is also the current woman world athlete of the year, clinched gold in the event, whereas her compatriot Berhanu Legese won the men’s event.
This year’s event was the first Delhi Half Marathon that Ayana has participated in, while Legese clinched the title in as far back as 2015. Ayana completed her fabulous debut in one hour, seven minutes and 11 seconds to emerge as the champion. Ayana was followed by Ababel Yeshaneh and Netsanet Gudeta, who were second and third, clocking 1:07:19 and 1:07:24 respectively to cover the 21.097km distance. In the women’s race, all the three positions were clinched by Ethiopians. In the men’s elite race, 2015 winner Legese won the gold in his run that lasted 59 minutes and 46 seconds. The second place was also grabbed by Ethiopian Anadamlak Belihu who achieved the feat in 59 minutes and 51 seconds. Leonard Korir of United States was third in 59:52. However, both Ayana and Legese could not break the course record of 1:06:54 and 59:06 respectively. Both the winners of the mens and womens category pocketed US $27000 as prize money.
Coming to the Indians who claimed top spots in the race, Olympian Nitendra Singh Rawat won the Indian men’s race in a close contest with G Lakshmanan. Rawat finished the race clocking a new course record time of one hour, three minutes and 53 seconds ( 1:03:53) which is also the same as Lakshmanan. However, the latter was declared second when the timing was broken down to decimal seconds. 21-year-old Avinash Sable from Maharashtra was third in the race clocking a time of 1:03:58. Sable too won his debut title in the Delhi Half Marathon. He also won the third place in a photo finish with Durga Bahadur Budha who clocked the same time of 1:03:58 but had to be content with fourth place. In the Indian women’s category, L Suriya bagged the gold in course record time of 1:10:31 while veteran long-distance runner Sudha Singh and Parul Choudhary were second and third in 1:11:30 and 1:13:09 respectively.
Some 35,000 runners turned out on Delhi roads for the 13th edition of the race. Out of them; 13,216 (elite and amateur together) ran in the half marathon distance, while the remaining took part in four categories of Great Delhi Run, Timed 10K Run, Senior Citizens Run and Champions with Disability Run.