Defending champion Rashpal Singh of the Army Sports Institute and last year's runner-up Pankaj Dhaka will lead the field of 36 top long distance male and female athletes in the 7th Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai Virar Mayors Marathon. The Marathon will be flagged off from two different locations in Virar and Vasai on December 10, a media release issued here said. Over 18,000 participants, among them 740 full Marathoners, more than 4000 half marathoners and over 2,000 participants for the 11 km, will take part in the event, the release added. The total prize money for the Marathon is in excess of Rs 40 lakh.
The winner of the full marathon for men will stand to gain Rs 2.50 lakh, while the male and female winners of the half marathon will be richer by Rs 1.25 lakh each. Rashpal has been in good form this year, having recorded his personal best of 2:20.23 at the National Marathon in Delhi. The men's half marathon will be spearheaded by Kalidas Hirave, who has a season's best timing of 1:03.27 clocked while winning the BSF Half Marathon in Delhi. The womens half marathon should see a stiff competition between Swati Gadhave and Monika Atahare. The other strong contenders are Monika Raut, Meenakshi Patil and Manisha Salunkhe.
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