Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia clocked 59 minutes 30 seconds to win the men's event in the Delhi Half Marathon while Kenya's Lucy Wangui Kabuu set a personal best of 1:07:04 to emerge the fastest in the women's field amid chilly weather conditions in the national capital yesterday.

Lelisa Desisa crosses the finishing line in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/AFP

Desisa, last year's runner-up was locked in battle with Kenyan Geofrrey Kipsang, who held the lead till the very end but with a great burst of speed in the last 200 yards, the Ethiopian passed his rival to finish 15 seconds off the course record.

Lucy Kabuu

The top three men all registered their personal bests, Kipsang finished just 1 sec behind the leader in 59:31 while compatriot Mike Kigen came third with 59:58. "Competition was good, but I am not too happy with my time. I have a cold so was not able to do my best," said Desisa after the 21-km race.

The Ethiopian, who followed Kipsang for most part of the race told IANS, "I followed him since I have cold. The weather was very difficult this year, last year the conditions were better." Runner-up Kipsang was delighted with the new route the race took this year.

"The course was flat and smooth, faster than some of the major marathons around the world," said the Kenyan. Kenya was dominant in the women's category with Sharon Cherop finishing four seconds behind Kabuu.
The two fought for the lead till the last kilometre. However, the 2006 Commonwealth champion, showed her class as she sped away from her compatriot to clinch the issue. Defending champion Aselefech Mergia was the top Ethiopian as she came third in 01:07:21.