Mumbai: Pacemaker Jackson Kiprop of Uganda and rookie Valentine Kipketer of Kenya set new course records on their way to the men and women's titles respectively in the $350,000 10th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon Sunday.
Debutant Kiprop, who was supposed to set the pace in the closing stages, overcame a strong field that included defending men's champion Laban Moiben of Kenya to storm to the finish line in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 32 seconds, thus dipping under the two-year-old course mark of 2:09:54.
The victory made the 26-year-old richer by $55,000 which included the $15,000 bonus for breaking the record. In second place was Jacob Cheshari of Ethiopia who, too, bettered the previous course mark by finishing in a fast 2:09:43, while Elijah Kemboi came third
Last year's winner and pre-race favourite Moiben was fifth in 2:10:55. Kiprop, who is the training partner for London Olympics Men's Marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, said he came here straight after his three-month-long training stint with the Olympic gold medallist in Kenya and it stood him in good stead.
"This is my first marathon. I have been training with Kiprotich in Kenya. I came here straight after training with him for the last three months. I started running in half marathons in 2005. This year, I have started my full marathon," said Kiprop, who won $40,000 as winner besides the bonus for breaking the course record.
Asked about the conditions, Kiprop said the weather was cool initially and became a bit hot towards the end. The men's race, in comparison to the women's in which 20-year-old Kipketer destroyed the field with front running from 20km out, was a close one with the bunch of nine, including Moiben, leading the field from the halfway stage — the Rajiv Gandhi sea link in Bandra.
Kiprop and Cheshari stepped on the pace just after Kemp's corner flyover on the return leg and the former pushed further ahead of the rest on the Marine Drive stretch before breasting the tape well ahead of the Ethiopian.
Both Cheshari and third-placed Kenmboi said the weather was good. Women's champion Kipketer, for whom this is her second marathon after the Hamburg race in April 2012, said she had no complaints about the weather or the course.
She said she could better her time in Germany where the conditions were much cooler as she drank more water during the race."The weather (in Mumbai) was good, no complaints about the weather or course. I am very happy to break the course record. But I can do better in future, do 2:20. I drank more water too than in Hamburg.
"My time here is a big improvement on the 2:28 I did in Hamburg," she added. In fact, she was the odd person out among the top ten finishers, the rest being Ethiopians, and won $55,000 in all, including the bonus for breaking the course mark.
Results (Top 6): Men: 1. Jackson Kiprop (Uga) 2:09:32, 2. Jacob Cheshari (Eth) 2:09:43, 3. Elijah Kemboi (Ken) 2:10:03, 4. Abraham Girma (Eth) 2:10:15, 5.Laban Moiben (Ken) 2:10.55, 6. Abay Tadesse (Eth) 2:14.14.
Women: 1. Valentine Kipketer (Ken) 2:24:33, 2. Dinkesh Mekash (Eth) 2:28:46, 3. Aberu Mekuria (Eth) 2:29:03, 4. Fantu Jimma (Eth) 2:30:22,5. Yeshimebet Tadesse (Eth) 2:30:52, 6. Megra Marta (Eth) 2:31:01.