Lalitha completes hat-trick of  titles; sets new course record

Mumbai: Lalita Babar completed a hat-trick of wins among the Indian women and set a new course record, while Pune-based Army Sports Institute’s Karan Singh was the best finisher among the Indian men in the 11th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.

Lalitha completes hat-trick of  titles; sets new course record

The 25-year-old Babar clocked 2:50:31 to set the new course record among the Indian women athletes, bettering her own feat of 2:53:35 set in the 2012 edition of the race.The top Indian male and female finishers in the full marathon (42.19km) received a prize money of Rs 5 lakh each.

Babar, employed with Central Railway, bagged a bonus of Rs 1 lakh for breaking the course record.Her Railways teammate Vijay Mala Patil finished second (2:59:58), while Jyoti Gawate came third (3:02:59).In the men’s field, it was a close contest with Karan clocking 2:24:08, followed by Rashpal Singh 2:24:38 and Binning Lyngkhoi 2:24:40.”More than winning, I wanted to qualify for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games (both to be held in 2014). I couldn’t achieve the qualification time but I am happy that I could achieve the target of 2 hours 50 minutes that I had set for myself,” Babar said.

Babar said she participated in the Marathon to have a work out and improve her endurance level for steeplechase. “The climate was good. I am satisfied with the timing. My timing could have been better if I had someone with me. I wasn’t feeling tired and I could have done it in 2 hours 47 minutes. It becomes difficult to did it alone after 21km, but I still tried my best,” the runner from Satara said. The Central Railways ticket-checker said she will train harder and perform better at the track and field events to qualify for the two quadrennial extravaganzas.     Karan (24) said his aim was to finish in the third place after securing the fourth spot in the previous edition.

“I just wanted to follow Elam (Singh) and Binning. I had finished fourth last year and fifth in 2012. I just wanted to come in third but I came first,” the Haryana runner said.Ram Singh Yadav, who set the host nation-specific course mark (2:16.59) in 2012 to qualify for the London Olympics, dropped out of the race due to knee pain. He hurt his knee in run-up to the event but had recovered nearly a week ago.

In the half-marathon (21km), Asian Games track gold medallist Sudha Singh and silver medallist Kavita Raut finished first and second, respectively, among the women.Sudha clocked 1:18:24, while Raut finished with 1:21:15.Sudha said there will be a high altitude camp from February first week in Ooty for four months to enable athletes to prepare for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

“Before the previous Asian Games, we were in Ooty and this time also we will be training over there,” she said. Among the men for the 21km race, ONGC’s Indrajeet Patel finished first with a timing of 1:04:56, followed by Soji Matthew 1:05:45. Army Sports Institutes’s Arjun Pradhan, who was competing in the half-marathon, was seen running alongside the Indian elite men of full marathon.

He later dropped out when the pack of Indian men’s full marathoners were about to reach Churchgate station, on course to the finish line. The top Indian male and female finishers in the half- marathon became richer by Rs 1.25 lakh each.

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