Ethiopian’s Lemi reclaims title at Tata Mumbai Marathon


Ethiopian long-distance runner Hayle Lemi Berhanu has etched his name into the history books of the Tata Mumbai Marathon, becoming only the second man to defend the title at this prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Road Race. With a triumphant finish time of 2:07:50, Lemi joins the elite ranks alongside the Kenyan legend John Kelai, echoing his back-to-back victories from 2007-2008.

The streets of Mumbai resonated with cheers as Lemi charged through the course. Despite the challenging final kilometers, his resilience and endurance shone brightly. “It’s been an amazing run, am feeling extremely good. The best part is the support on the course,” said Lemi. Although the course record eluded him this year, his performance was nothing short of stellar.

The marathon unfolded with a lead pack of strong contenders, including Lemi’s fellow Ethiopians Kinde Atanaw and Haymanot Alew, with Kenya’s Dickson Kiptoo and the pacing expertise of Dominic Ngeno setting the early tempo. The 20K mark saw the leaders tightly grouped, crossing in 60:30, with the race narrative hinting at a tactical showdown.

The 30K checkpoint was a turning point as the lead group dwindled, leaving Joshua Kogo, Mitku Tafa, Alew, and Kiptoo alongside Lemi. It was in these decisive moments that Lemi and Alew surged ahead, breaking away from the pack. Lemi, familiar with the Mumbai terrain from his previous victory, pushed the pace and entered the final 5K solo. Despite the solitude and absence of a challenger to spur him on, Lemi’s victory was a testament to his exceptional prowess as he secured a comfortable lead, though just short of his previous record.

In a spectacular display of Ethiopian dominance, the podium was completed by Lemi’s compatriots, Haymanot Alew (2:09:03) and Mitku Tafa (2:09:58), who claimed second and third place respectively.

On the women’s front, newcomer Aberash Minsewo stunned the field with her debut victory. Transitioning from a successful middle-distance running background, including a gold at the World Youth Championships and a bronze at the Youth Olympic Games, Minsewo has now taken to the roads with remarkable finesse. She dominated the race from start to finish, crossing the line in an impressive 2:26:06, with her fellow Ethiopians Ayinadis Teshome, Muluhabt Tsega, and Medhin Bejene filling the subsequent spots.

Indian runners also made their mark, with Bugatha Srinu and Thakor Nirmaben emerging as the top finishers in their categories. Srinu’s eighth-place overall finish and Nirmaben’s substantial personal best improvement highlighted the growing standards of Indian long-distance running.

The Mumbai Marathon not only showcased international athleticism but also offered a glimpse of emerging talent, setting the stage for future stars in distance running. The elite winners, Lemi and Minsewo, walked away with the top prize, a testament to their hard work, dedication, and the spirit of marathon running that continues to inspire and amaze.

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