Kochi: Kerala’s John Paul C staved off a stiff challenge from a strong field of runners to clinch the gold medal in the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Spice Coast Marathon 2019 here.
John proved to be untouchable on the day and despite a humid condition and relentless challenge from the others in fray including the defending champion Mahesh P S, he finished the full marathon (42.2 k) in just 03:07:05 hours, almost seven minutes ahead of the second placed Ayub A.
In the Women’s category, it was Shino Mol who cornered the top prize after she clocked a time of 05:11:18 hours to complete the full marathon.
Over 7000 runners lined up for the start in the morning, in three different categories including the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and the Fun run, despite heavy downpour for much of the previous night.
IDBI Federal Life Insurance Brand Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar flagged-off the marathon from the Willingdon Island and honoured the winners too later in the day.
While the serious runners lined up for glory in the Full and Half Marathon, it was the participants of the Fun Run who had a gala time and let no opportunities slip by to have a selfie clicked with Sachin or getting souvenirs autographed by the Master Blaster.
John ran like a man possessed and maintained a steady pace to widen the gap initially and then later held on to it to win the title comfortably. Ayub A, who fell behind John in the initial stage could not recover and managed only 03:14:55-hr finish. Benson CB complete the 42.2 kms grueling run in 03:22:31 hours to win the bronze.
While, the men’s contest turned out to be a one sided affair, it was the women’s division which lit up the track with their fierce running. Shino was under pressure from Marla Hall throughout the run and it was only during the last few kilometres where she broke out managed to hold on to her slender lead and finish just a minute ahead of Hall.
Aryav Pillai clocked 05:14:17 hours to win the bronze medal.
In the 21.1k Half Marathon, M.P Nabeel Sahi pocketed the top prize in the men’s category by clocking 01:19:57 hours. He was followed by Avinesh Kumar (01:23:05 hours) and M.P Aswin (01:26:30 hours).
In the women’s category, Merina Mathew stole the limelight to win the gold by posting a timing of 1:51:08 hours, trailed by Marta Ceconni (01:56:25 hours) & Josmy Joseph (02:02:09 hours).