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Africans set to dominate in pleasant weather

With the early morning temperature expected to be around 13 degree Celsius, Ethiopian and Kenyan runners are confident of setting a record of less than 2:08:00 in the 10th edition of the USD 3,50,000 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon today.

Laban Moiben
Kenya’s Laban Moiben is delighted after winning last year’s Mumbai Marathon on January 15, 2012. Moiben clocked 2:10:48. Pic/AFP

Ethiopian Girma Assefa set a course record of 2:09:54 in 2011, but according to the athletes, the distance could be covered in less than that time since the climate is cooler.

Defending champion Laban Moiben of Kenya said, “The weather in the city is perfect for marathon. My personal best timing is 2:09:13, but I am confident of doing better than that. Even 2:08 is a possibility,” said the 29-year-old runner.

Meanwhile, winner of the inaugural edition, Hendrick Ramaala (41) of South Africa said he hoped for a podium finish. “My personal best timing is 2:06:55, but that’s not possible in Mumbai. 2:08 is achievable. I feel defending champion Moiben could pose a threat for me. When I won in 2004, the route was much tougher. But now, the event has become bigger and better,” he said.

Hendrick Ramaala
Hendrick Ramaala

The women though are hopeful of finishing the distance (42.195km) in less than two-and-half hours. Lishan Dula, 25, who clocked 2:26:56 in 2011 at Rotterdam, is hoping to surpass her personal best in Mumbai. “It has been pleasant here. If everything goes well, I can better my timing in Mumbai,” said the Ethiopian, who represents Bahrain.

Last edition’s runner-up Ethiopian Raji Assefa also aimed to go one better this time. He won the Paris Marathon in 2012, clocking 2:06.24. “I was prepared for a hot and humid weather like last year. But I was surprised to witness cold mornings here. I will try my best. I want to win the title in Mumbai this time,” said the 27-year-old.

Winners in the men’s and women’s categories will be richer by USD 40,000. A bonus amount of USD 15,000 will also be up for grabs for breaking the course record in both categories.

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