Solomon Deksisa of Ethiopia and defending champion Bornes Kitur will be among the major attractions in the men's and women's elite field respectively, at the USD 405,000 Tata Mumbai Marathon to be held on January 21. Four men who have run under 2 hours and seven minutes, including Deksisa, and five others who have run under 2:09:00, as well as six women who have gone faster than 2:29:00 will be on the start line at the 15th edition of the race offering a top prize of USD 42,000, according to race promoters, Procam International. Deksisa, whose personal best of 2:06:22, was clocked while finishing second at the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon and ending up third at last October's Toronto Marathon, is the fastest to have entered for the Mumbai Marathon. Ethiopia's Chele Dechasa and Abraham Girma, and Bahrain's Shumi Dechasa, the latter running for his country in the last two IAAF World Championships marathons, are the three other men entrants who have run under 2:07:00 in their careers. Among the prominent Kenyan runners in the elite field are Joshua Kipkorir and Eliud Barngetuny, who were second and third in last year's Mumbai Marathon. "We have a stronger men's field this year and I think the men's course record of 2:08:35 (set in 2016 by Kenya's Gideon Kipketer), will be under threat," Procam's joint MD Vivek Singh said. The women's course record of 2:24:33 (set in 2013 by Kenya's Valentine Kipketer) is probably a tougher proposition but far from unbeatable, with the calibre of athletes coming here, he added. In the women's elite race, Kenya's Kitur is expected to face a stiff challenge from Ethiopia's 2016 champion, Shuko Genemo. Genemo had a 2017 best of 2:26:06 at the Vienna Marathon and ran under 2:29:00 in her other two marathons last year, including a win in the Ljubljana Marathon in October. Kitur followed up her win in Mumbai by setting a personal best of 2:29:01 when finishing second in the Sydney Marathon in September. Also in the fray in the IAAF Silver Label Road Race is Ethiopia's 35-year-old Amane Gobena, who ran her personal best of 2:21:51 when finishing second in the 2016 Tokyo Marathon and returned to the famous race in the Japanese capital last February and finished third in 2:23.09. Ethiopia's Kumeshi Sichala and Tigist Girma return to the race having made the podium in the past.
Sichala was second in 2015 while Girma was third last year. In addition to the marathon, there is a half-marathon, dream run (6.6 kms), senior citizens' race (4.6 kms), champions with disability race (2.4 kms) and a new race in 2018, the Timed 10K run. Around 46,000 runners will take part in all events combined, according to the race promoters. Elite athletes list: Men: Solomon Deksisa ETH/personal best 2:06:22; Chele Dechasa ETH/2:06:33; Shumi Dechasa BRN/2:06:43; Abraham Girma ETH/2:06:48; Tebalu Zawude ETH/2:07:10; Yitayal Atnafu ETH/2:07:21; Evans Ruto KEN/2:07:49; Philip Kangogo KEN/2:08:16; Samuel Mwaniki KEN/2:08:56; Aychew Bantie ETH/2:09:40; Joshua Kipkorir KEN/2:09:50; Eliud Barngetuny KEN/2:10:23; Robert Chemonges UGA/2:10:32; Vincent Kipchumba KEN/2:10:32; Jeffrey Eggleston USA/2:10:52; Shumet Akalnaw ETH/2:13:18; Husen Muhammedamin ETH/2:14:19. Women: Bornes Kitur KEN/2:29:01 (defending champion); Amane Gobena ETH/2:21:51; Shuko Genemo ETH/2:24:31; Helalia Johannes NAM/2:26:09; Monika Stefanowicz POL/2:28:26; Kumeshi Sichala ETH/2:28:42; Afera Godfay ETH/2:28:46; Tigist Girma ETH/2:29:05; Kuftu Tahir ETH/2:31:27; Tejitu Daba BRN/2:31:32; Rose Maru KEN/2:33:05; Birke Debele ETH/2:40:48.
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