It was an Ethiopian morning on the streets of South Mumbai as defending champion Hayle Lemi and his countrywoman Aberash Minsewo scorched the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024 and clinched the men's and women's Marathon crowns in style on Sunday.
Lemi claimed the title with his speed, endurance, stamina and tenacity to retain his Marathon crown while Aberash was dominant in her race as well.
Lemi's Stellar Performance
The 29-year-old Lemi led the race from start to finish and was the undisputed leader of the pack with a timing of 2:07:50 leaving behind fellow countrymen Haymanot Alew (2:09:03) and Mitku Tafa (2:09:53) in a race timed to perfection.
The Ethiopian domination was on expected lines but Lemi's authority was a pleasant surprise for seasoned Mumbai Marathon watchers with the balmy weather and the steep Peddar Road climb proving challenging for runners.
Lemi's race was timed at 00:30:42 at the 10km mark and progressively at 1:00:31 at the 20km point and 1:31:05 at the 30km mark. At the crucial 40km mark, Lemi had a timing of 2:01:04 while Alew was at 2:01:44 and Tafa was going at 2:02:33.
The champion Lemi was exhausted after the end of the race but a sense of accomplishment and jubilation was evident on his face.
"After the race, it was a great feeling. I'm very happy although it was tough towards the end of the race. After the 36km mark, it got lot more challenging with the roads getting rough and steep,'' he added.
Lemi's compatriot and second-placed Alew was also a satisfied man with his performance.
"I ran a good race and pretty happy with the way things panned. My body was a bit tired when Lemi told me to take over and set the pace,'' revealed Alew.
In the women's Elite Marathon, Aberash led the Ethiopian 1-2-3 with a timing of 2:26:06.
She was followed by Muluhabt Tsega crossing the finish line at 2:26:51 while Medhin Bejene took the third place at 2:27:34.
Aberash was elated with her effort and thanked the organisers for staging a great event.
"The organizers have done a wonderful job here in Mumbai and I thank them. I'm very happy and surprised by my performance,'' she added.
Indian Elite Performances
The Indian Elite Men's Marathon saw Srinu Bugatha claiming the spoils with a time of 2:17:29 while Gopi Thonakal bagged the second place at 2:18:37. Sher Singh Tanwar had to settle for the third spot at 2:19:37.
Nirmaben Thakor Bharatjee was the winner among the elite Indian women in the Marathon.
It was a creditable performance from the Indian runners, who keep raising the bar at every edition of the prestigious Mumbai Marathon.
Half Marathon Highlights
In the Half Marathon male section, Sawan Barwal grab the top spot at 1:05:07 with Kiran Matre (1:06:24) following suit and Mohan Saini bagging the third position at 1:06:55.
The women's category saw Amrita Patel take the spoils with a timing of 1:19:20 while Poonam Dinkar at 1:19:20 and Kavita Yadav (1:20:45) completed the standings.