Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana proved their mettle at the 18th edition of the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon in the capital city on Sunday (15 Oct).
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Ayana, the 2016 Rio Olympics Champion and winner of the Delhi Half Marathon six years ago, came close to her 2017 winning time in the women’s race. Running with the company of her countrymates Aberash MInsewo and Dessie Anchinalu, as well as the Kenyan Viola Chepngeno and Uganda’s Stella Chesang, they covered the first quarter of the race in 15:45-15:47, with the other Kenyan, Vivian Cheruiyot, slightly behind. Ayana maintained her 16-minute pace for each of the five-kilometer intervals, eventually claiming the top spot in 67:58. Uganda’s Stella Chesang finished 28 seconds later in second place, while Viola Chepngeno from Kenya completed the podium in 69:09.
“I am happy about winning here. It was not an easy race, and the weather was a bit hot as well. However, it was great to run at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me to the event, and this race has helped me prepare for future events,” said Almaz. ALSO READ: Njeru and Kiriago secure Mountain Running World Cup wins with victory in Gran Canaria
Delhi Half Marathon Men’s Race
In the men’s race, a group of about eight Kenyan runners, along with Ethiopian Addisu Gobena, took the lead. They stayed together until the 13th kilometer when Ebenyo and his teammate Charles Matata started breaking away. Charles, the runner-up in this year’s Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in Madrid, pushed Ebenyo for another five kilometers. However, Ebenyo, the Silver Medalist in the World Half Marathon earlier this year, increased his pace at the right time, finishing at least half a minute ahead of Charles. Daniel Ebenyo won the race in 59 minutes 27 seconds, Charles Matata took 60:05 for the silver spot, while Addisu Gobena brought cheer to the Ethiopian camp 46 seconds later, as his countrymate and reigning champion Chala Regasa left the race midway.
“It was amazing to run here; however, I am disappointed with my timing. I was aiming for the event record but fell short. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience to run in the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. Hopefully, I will be able to break the event record next year. I would like to congratulate the organizers of the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon for hosting a brilliant event,” said Ebenyo.
Abhishek Pal reclaimed the Indian Elite Men’s title at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon 2023 after competing neck and neck with Asian Games 2022 Silver Medallist Kartik Kumar. Pal recorded a time of 64:07, while Kartik missed the top prize by a fraction of a second, finishing with 64:08. Meanwhile, Sawan Barwal finished third with a time of 64:17. Abhishek Pal improved his timing from his 2018 victory, where he finished with 64:13.
Speaking about his victory, Abhishek Pal said, “Kartik and I have had a lot of close contests, and today we had another one. It’s great to clinch first place in the Indian Elite Men’s race once again. Kartik and I train together, and I am really happy about his achievement at the Asian Games. We’ll definitely have another photo finish at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon next year.”
Meanwhile, Kartik Kumar expressed, “I thought for a moment during the race that I might not win a Medal today, but fortunately, I won a Silver, and I am very happy about it. I trained hard for the last few days, and I wanted to do justice to my training.”
Kavita Yadav clinched the first position in the Indian Elite Women’s Race on her Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon debut with a time of 77:42, while Rima Patel (77:48) and Poonam Dinkar Sonune (77:49) finished second and third, respectively.
Yadav expressed her excitement after clinching Gold in the Indian Elite Women’s Race, “I am thrilled to win the Indian Elite Women’s race at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon on my debut. The race got very close towards the end, and I had to push hard in the last 400m to ensure that I finished first. It was a great experience to run in Delhi, and I will certainly come back to defend my title.”
Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon’ble Minister of Youth Affairs, Sports and IMB graced his presence at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon 2023. Speaking about the event, he said, “I am delighted to see the response for the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. The participation of 36000 runners showed the enthusiasm with which the country has embraced the FIT India Movement envisioned by Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi ji, and it has become a people’s movement. The atmosphere in the stadium was the most vibrant that I have seen, and it is evident that citizens are embracing fitness and good health as a way of life.”