Karan Singh emerged the fastest Indian among men for the second consecutive year at the 2015 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon after clocking his personal best timing of 2:21:35 yesterday.
Karan Singh breasts the tape at the finish line. Pic/Atul Kamble
The 24-year-old successfully defended his Mumbai Marathon title while also pocketing a cool Rs 5,00,000 and earning a spot in the New York City Marathon to be held on November 1.
Two debutants — Arjun Pradhan (2:22:22) and Bahadur Singh Dhoni (2:22:41) — completed the podium on a hot and humid day behind Karan. Despite retaining his crown, Karan was left ruing missing out on the 2:18:00 timing which would have almost ensured him a spot in the national squad for the 2015 Beijing World Athletics Championships.
"Around December 30, I had a bad accident while training. The injury on my left leg dented my confidence besides affecting my rhythm as I had to take a break of 10 days for the injury to heal.
"I will try to make the cut for the 2015 Beijing World Athletics Championships in the upcoming marathons such as London (April 26)," said Karan, who shaved off almost two minutes from his timing that he set at last year's race.
However, yesterday he was almost beaten by second-placed Arjun (12th overall), who was leading for most of the race. But in the end, inexperience at running marathons cost him the top spot.
Follow the leader
The other debutant on the podium, Bahadur, chose a different strategy than Arjun. "I didn't think I could finish the race if I had taken the lead. So, I thought I'd just run along with Karan. And this strategy worked," Bahadur said.
Meanwhile, in the men's half marathon category, Indrajeet Patel clocked a timing of 1:08:09 to retain his title while Atwa Bhagat (1:08:11) and Govind Singh (1:08:14) finished second and third respectively.
At last year's Mumbai Marathon, men's winner Evans Ruto missed out on breaking the course record by just one second. Ruto later said that he was impeded by "joggers" on the course. This year, the organisers told reporters that they had taken adequate measures to prevent a repeat.
However, Arjun Pradhan, who had broken from the pack of the Indian elite athletes and was running alone, said he was 'disturbed by fun runners' around the 30-km mark. "I was disturbed due to these fun runners after the 30-km mark. I had to tell them to move aside," Arjun said.