Defending champions Hayle Lemi Berhanu and Anchialem Haymanot face a formidable challenge from compatriots Kinde Atanaw and Sofia Assefa in the upcoming 19th edition of the Tata Mumbai Marathon, a prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Road Race scheduled for Sunday (21 Jan).
Kinde Atanaw, leading the men's field with a speedy personal best of 2:03:51 from four years ago, aims for a triumphant return to India after nearly a decade. Despite facing challenges in recent post-Covid outings, Atanaw is determined to make a significant impact in Mumbai and secure a memorable victory.
Meanwhile, defending champion Hayle Lemi Berhanu, expressing confidence in retaining his title, exhibited remarkable form with a fifth-place finish and a notable time of 2:05:48 in Amsterdam just three months ago. Armed with extensive marathon experience, Lemi is poised to face tough competition but remains adaptable to race dynamics.
The 2019 World Champion, Lelisa Desisa, adds enthusiasm and optimism to the men's title race on Sunday. In the women's category, Sofia Assefa emerges as a dark horse to watch. The former World and Olympic medalist in steeplechase made her marathon debut in Amsterdam three months ago. Her teammate and defending women’s champion,
Anchialem Haymanot, who finished sixth in Amsterdam with a personal best of 2:22:23, faces tough competition from Assefa, who clocked an impressive 2:23:33 on debut. Tadelech Bekele, credited with the fastest time of 2:21:40 and a bronze in London in 2018, returns to competition after a four-year break for a familiar purpose.
As the anticipation builds, running community members were inspired by Meb Keflezighi, an Olympic medalist and winner of New York and Boston marathons, who shared his valuable insights. Keflezighi emphasised the balance of fitness and mental preparation in training and competition, providing a unique perspective on the mindset needed for success in the challenging race ahead.