New Delhi, 16 October, Kenya's Daniel Ebenyo on Sunday emerged the new Men's champion while Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana's regained the women's title after six years in the USD 268,000 prize money Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon in the capital city on Sunday.
The winners in the men’s and women’s categories took home USD 27,000 each and the prize money includes the top 10 finishers in both
Meanwhile Abhishek Pal reclaimed the Indian Elite Men’s title after competing neck and neck with Asian Games Silver Medallist Kartik Kumar. Pal recorded a timing of 64:07, while Kartik missed the top prize by a fraction of a second and finished with 64:08. Meanwhile, Sawan Barwal finished third with a timing of 64:17.
The 2016 Rio Olympics Champion and winner of the Delhi Half Marathon six years ago, Ayana ,came closer to her 2017 winning time in the women’s race. Running alongside her country-mates Aberash MInsewo and Dessie Anchinalu besides the Kenyan Viola Chepngeno as well as Uganda’s Stella Chesang, covered the first quarter of the race in 15:45-15:47 while the other runner from Kenya - Vivian Cheruiyot, the Rio Olympics 5000m victor was slightly behind.
Although Ayana maintained her 16-minute pace for each of the five-kilometre intervals, but thereafter slowed down in the final phases of the race as her nearest challenger Stella was a distance away and had to run her own race.
Ayana went on to claim the top spot in 67:58. Uganda’s Stella Chesang finished 28 seconds later for the second place while Viola Chepngeno from Kenya completed the podium in 69:09. For Chesang it was one place up from her last year’s position in Delhi.
“I am happy about winning here. It was not an easy race and the weather was a bit hot as well. However, it was great to run at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to the event and this race has helped me prepare for the events in future,” said Almaz.
A pack of eight Kenyan runners along with the Ethiopian Addisu Gobena took the lead in the men’s race. The group stayed together until the 13th kilometers when Ebenyo and his teammate Chales Matata started breaking away from the rest.
Chales, the runner-up in this year’s Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in Madrid was pushed Ebenyo for another five kilometers. However, Ebenyo, the Silver Medalist in the World Half Marathon earlier this year, increased his pace at the right time to move at least half a minute ahead of Chales.
Ebenyo romped home the winner in 59 minutes 27 seconds. Chales Matata took 60:05 for the silver spot whilst Addisu Gobena brought some cheer to the Ethiopian camp 46 seconds later as his country-mate and reigning champion Chala Regasa left the race midway.
“It was amazing to run here, however, I am disappointed with my timing. I was aiming for the event record but fell short. But, nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience to run here today . Hopefully, I will be able to break the event record next year " said Ebenyo.
Among the Indians, Abhishek Pal the 2018 winner with 64:13 , bettered his timing in this edition. "Kartik and I have had a lot of close contests and today we had another one. It's great to clinch first place in the Indian Elite Men's race once again. Kartik and I train together and I am really happy about his achievement at the Asian Games." commented Abhishek
"I thought for a moment during the race that I might not win a Medal today, but fortunately, I won a Silver and I am very happy about it. I trained hard for the last few days and I wanted to do justice to my training." said Kartik
Kavita Yadav clinched the first position in the Indian Elite Women’s Race on her Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon debut with a timing of 77:42, while Rima Patel (77:48) and Poonam Dinkar Sonune (77:49) finished second and third respectively.
Yadav expressed her excitement after clinching Gold in the Indian Elite Women’s Race, "I am thrilled to win the Indian Elite Women's race at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon on my debut. The race got very close towards the end and I had to push hard in the last 400m to ensure that I finished first. It was a great experience to run in Delhi and I will certainly come back to defend my title."
The Indian elite winners in the men’s and women’s took home Rs 4,00,000 each and the prize money includes the top 10 finishers in both.