Kenyan men and Ethiopian women are likely to take home top honours at the 12th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) today.
Kenya's Evans Ruto, who won the elite men's event last year, will be itching to break the course record which he missed by just one second in 2014. Pic/Shadab Khan
Last year, defending champion Evans Ruto of Kenya, whose personal best timing is 2:07.49 secs, missed equalling the course record of 2:09.32 set by Ugandan James Kiprop by just one second.
He will face tough competition from fellow countryman — Henry Sugut, the three-time winner of the Vienna Marathon (personal best timing 2:06.58) and 2007 World Champion Luke Kibet. While Dereje Debele of Ethiopia (personal best timing of 2:07.48) didn't taste any success last year, he hopes to break the Kenyan domination this year.
"Mumbai Marathon has always treated me well and I love coming here. Also, I'm aware that the expectations are high and I am confident of giving my best come Sunday. Though last time I missed setting up a new marathon record by a whisker as half marathon joggers came in between, this year I'm hopeful that I can finish with a better timing," said 30-year-old Ruto.
Meanwhile, Kibet, who is running the Mumbai Marathon after a six-year gap, said, "Post my injury in 2007, I have trained quite hard. Though anything can happen on Sunday, I want Kenyans to win. I am aware of the widely spoken battle between Ethiopians and Kenyans, but honestly for me it's a matter of pride when my countrymen win."
In the women's full marathon, Dinknesh Mekash of Ethiopia hopes to defend her title but will face a worthy contender in the form of Kenya's Gladys Kipsoi who was the runner-up last year. Dinknesh will face competition from fellow Ethiopian runners Marta Megra and Radiya Adlo.
"Last year, I came close to winning but faltered before the finish line. Tomorrow, I want to ensure that I maintain a good pace and win the title," said Kipsoi, who stood second at the Toulouse and Lodz Marathons in 2014.