Mumbai: Lalita Babbar completed a hat-trick of titles in the Indian elite women’s full marathon category at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon yesterday.
India’s fastest elite woman Lalita Babbar in full flight at the Mumbai Marathon yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Babbar’s joy was doubled as she also created a new Indian women’s full marathon course record by clocking 2:50:31 secs. Babbar, who pocketed Rs five lakh for her effort, also received an additional Rs one lakh for bettering her earlier record of 2:53:35, set in the 2012 Mumbai Marathon.
Meanwhile, Vijaymala Patil finished second with a timing of 2:59:58, while Jyoti Gawate came third clocking 3:02:59.
“More than winning, I wanted to qualify for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. I couldn’t achieve the qualification time (2:45:00), but I’m happy to have clocked 2 hours 50 minutes, which is a good time,” said the 25-year-old, who works as a Head Ticket Collector at Central Railway’s Ghatkopar Station.
Babbar, who is a steeplechase runner, said she participated in the Mumbai Marathon to have a workout and improve her endurance levels. “Today, the climate was good and I wasn’t tired at all. I am satisfied with my timing.
My timing could have been better if I had someone to run alongside me. If there was an athlete, who could match my pace, I could have finished with a timing of 2 hours, 47 minutes. It becomes difficult to do it alone after 21km, but I still tried my best,” she said.
Lalita however, is not sure if she will be able to defend her title next year. “I’m basically not a marathon runner. Three years ago, I gave it a try and came first and that motivated me to continue. The first time I ran a marathon, it was my dream to participate in the 42-km category.
Later on, it helped me improve my endurance and so I started running one full marathon and two or three half marathons a year. I only participate in the Mumbai Marathon. My participation next year depends on what happens at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games,” said the Satara athlete.
When asked what she would do with the prize money, the daughter of a farmer promptly said, “I would give the money to my family as I am unable to fulfill their requirements with the salary that I earn.”