In what was a well-paced race on a cool and breezy morning in Mumbai, Ethiopia’s Derara Hurisa produced a fine display of calculated running to win the 2020 edition of the Mumbai Marathon, setting a new course record in the process after a surge in the final few kilometres on Sunday.
The Ethiopian clocked two hours eight minutes and nine seconds to obliterate the previous best set by Kenyan Gideon Kipketer at 2:08:35 in 2016.
The win saw Derara Hurisa take home a total cash prize of US$60,000 (45,000 for the win + 15,000 bonus for the course record) for his performance.
Among women, it was the returning Amane Beriso of Ethiopia who stamped her authority on the streets of Mumbai to win the gold medal in 2:24:51. Kenya’s Rodah Jepkorir took home the silver in 2:27:14 while another Ethiopian Haven Hailu sprung a surprise to win the bronze in 2:28:56 in her first-ever run in this distance.
With the weather conducive for some good road running and the course tweaked to aid the elite bunch, it was no surprise that the much-sought-after bunch of runners at the Mumbai Marathon set the stage alight with some blistering pace from the gun.
Led by the early pacesetters Frederick Kiptoo and John Langat, the pack headed out on to the Marine Drive and from there on towards Haji Ali to complete the initial 10 kilometres in just a second over the 30-minute mark.
While most of the bunch seemed to enjoy the quick pace, defending champion Cosmas Lagat was soon in trouble as he was forced to withdraw from the race at around the 13-kilometre mark owing to a pull in his leg muscles.
That barely seemed to bother his fellow runners as they continued to surge on towards the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link with their pace barely dropping. The elite bunch crossed the 20-kilometre mark in 1:00:35.
But it wasn’t until on their way back to the heart of the city that Abshero and Derara Hurisa took matters into their own hands.
The final push
Crossing the 30-kilometre mark at 1:30:52, the duo, along with Birhanu and Jackson Kiprop of Uganda, broke away from the pack and were indulged in a race of their own. And while a win for either of the three looked certain, the runners now shifted their focus on to the course record.
“Around the 30-kilometre mark I thought a record here could be possible and I was asking Birhanu to push for it. I am happy that I could go below the previous record even though I couldn’t win the race,” Abshero said after the race.
Running on an empty carriageway in the return leg, the race leaders would once again exert themselves to bring up a sizable lead between them and the rest.
While the quartet was still intact, crossing the 38-kilometre mark around the hour and 55 seconds mark, it was here that Derara Hurisa shifted gears to leave the rest trailing. There was no looking back for the 23-year-old running his debut marathon as he crossed the finish line to claim the gold medal.
Amane Beriso, the lone ranger
Meanwhile, in the women’s half, Amane Beriso was a comfortable winner as she broke away from the pack and was involved in a fight against time for the remainder of the race.
With the defending champion in the women’s half, Worknesh Alemu too ending with a ‘DNF’ after floundering around the 31-kilometre mark, Amane Beriso barely faced any challenge as she raced ahead to win the Mumbai title.
Pushed by her pacemaker, the Ethiopian could have even had a crack at the course record, but her tiring legs didn’t help her in the final 200 metres as the record stayed intact for another year.
“I was tired after 32-33 kilometres, but I didn’t want to let the lead slip. My pacemaker pushed me. He kept saying that a record was possible, but I just couldn’t in the final few metres. I think that’s the thing about taking a year-long break from running,” Beriso said post-race.
Srinu Bugatha, Sudha Singh claim wins
Among the Indians, the race panned out in a predictable manner with Srinu Bugatha and Sudha Singh winning the men’s and the women’s race respectively.
Bugatha, who trains at the Army Sports Institute in Pune, clocked 2:18:44 for his gold, while Sudha Singh took 2:45:30 to win her race on Sunday.