Defending champion Tsehay Gemechu of Ethiopia set a new course record in the women’s category at the 2019 edition of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM), covering the distance in an hour and six minutes, 50 seconds faster than the previous record in her own name, registered last year.
The overall winner of the half marathon was Andamlak Belihu, also of Ethiopia. He finished the race in 59 minutes and 10 seconds to defend his title.
He was followed by compatriot Solomon Berihu in second place with timing of 59:17. Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie finished third in 59:33 minutes.
In the women’s race, Yelamerf Yehualaw came in second, finishing just one second after Gemechu. Zeineba Yimer finished third with a timing of 1:06:57.
Among Indian elite athletes Srinu Bugatha won the men’s race with timing of 1:04:33. Suresh Patel came in second at 1:04:57 and Harshad Mhatre was third at 1:05:12.
Among Indian elite women, Suriya Loganathan topped the race finishing in 1:12:49. She was followed by Parul Chaudhary (1:13:55) and Chinta Yadav (1:15:28).
In the amateur category, the overall winner was Sidhapa Mayappa. He finished in 1:09:43. Manjeet came in second with timing of 1:10:34 and Ravendra Singh came in third at 1:10:48.
Among amateur women, the overall winner was Preity Rai with a finish of 1:26:39. Seema Yadav came in second with a 1:34:14 finish and Chandrawati Rajwade placed third at 1:34:23.
For Seema Yadav, a resident of Faridabad it was a personal best (PB). “ My run could have been better. I finished with an improvement of 24 seconds over my previous best timing for a half marathon,’’ she said.
Weather, according to her, was good at the start of the race but turned warm towards the latter half. “ At India Gate, we had the full blaze of the sun on us,’’ she said.
Held for the first time in 2005, ADHM is an IAAF Gold Label race. Thanks to its generally flat course, it is among races returning fast finish-time. In 15 editions of the event, winners in the male category have produced sub-hour finishes 11 times. Among women, sub 1:08 finish was clocked on six occasions. The course record for men is 59:06, set in 2014 by Guye Adola of Ethiopia. Ethiopian runners have dominated this event; their men winning in their gender category nine times and their women, eight times. According to news reports, the total number of participants at ADHM was at a record high in the 2019 edition with 40,633 registered. The race featured total prize money of 275,000 dollars. The event was flagged off early today morning (Sunday, October 20) by sports minister, Kiren Rijiju.
(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)