Harpal Singh Bedi
Gurugram: Last minute entry Kenyan Roland Kibiwoti Kemboi, and Noida’s Kalpana Deka Saha ran out comfortable winners of the men and women’s events in 2:44:13 and 3:53:20 respectively at the fifth Apollo Tyres Millennium City Marathon on a crisp morning here today.
Kaushalendra and Kenyan Sally Jebiwott Kurui won the men and women’s half-marathons while Sadender Singh and Bharti claimed the 10km Speed Challenge honours. More than 1800 runners finished the timed events run on the iconic Sikanderpur and Golf Course Road underpasses.
Roland Kemboi made light of having had to run some extra distance after missing a turn soon after the start and caught up with the leaders well before the runners took the U-turn at the halfway mark on the first loop of the course. “It was a very enjoyable run and I loved the course and the weather,” he said.
Abhishek Soni and Vipul Kumar realised that it made no sense to pursue the Kenyan and engaged in a race of their own. After having caught up with the leaders before the first quarter of the race was complete, they shadowed one another for a fair bit, but Abhishek Soni, a 23-year-old from Satna pulled away to finish with a seven-minute margin over Vipul Kumar in his maiden marathon.
Kalpana Saha Deka overcame stomach cramps to emerge on top of the heap with a steady run. She said she had learnt from last year’s error of running a fast first half and paced herself well to leave others in her wake. “It felt a little longer this time,” she said of the AIMS-certified route, adding that the feeling could have been sparked by the stomach cramps.
The men’s half marathon was a close fought affair with Bulandshahar’s 19-year-old Kaushalendra sprinting away in the end to secure victory in 1:17:29, leaving Ladakh runner Manzoor Hussain and 44-year-old Armyman Sabal Singh to battle it for the second place. Milind Soman, fitness ambassador, enjoyed a relaxed half-marathon after he completed flagging-off the event.
With Ladkah runner Tstetan Dolkar switching to the half-marathon on the eve of the race, Kalpana Deka Saha, with roots in Meghalaya, became a favourite to secure her maiden victory in three years of taking part in MCM. She had won age-category titles in 2017 half marathon and 2018 marathon, but this win will be special.
Sally Kurui, who like Ronald Kemboi, signed up for the event only on Saturday, broke the event’s half marathon record with a time of 1:21:35. It was a good 10 minutes faster than the existing mark of 1:31:25 set by Kiranjit Kaur in the opening year. Kiranjit Kaur rode on the pace set by the Kenyan and finished four minutes behind her in a fast race.
Full Marathon 42.195 Km
Men: 1. Ronald Kibiwoti Kemboi 2:44:13; 2. Abhishek Soni 2:56:22; 3. Vipul Kumar 3:05:41.
Women: 1. Kalpana Deka Saha 3:53:20; 2. Juby George 4:14:38; 3. Sushma Sharma 4:16:56.
Half Marathon 21.097 Km
Men: 1. Kaushalendra 1:17:29; 2. Manzoor Hussain 1:20:40; 3. Sabal Singh 1:21:46.
Women: 1. Sally Jebiwott Kurui 1:21:35; 2. Kiranjit Kaur 1:25:09; 3. Tsetan Dolkar 1:27:15.
10km Speed Challenge
Men: 1. Sadender Singh 36:10; 2. Ishu Solanki 36:35; 3. Mohammed Meraj 36:37.
Women: 1. Bharti 42:07; 2. Badho 42:11; 3. Rimpi 45:01.