This was the slowest finish in Delhi in a decade
The 17th edition of the Delhi Half Marathon, officially the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon for sponsorships reasons, was back in its original fanfare on 16 October 2022 after missing out on two editions of mass participation owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020 elite only remains the fastest time ever set in Delhi. The race started at 6:40 am IST for both the men’s and the women’s elites. The weather was hovering around 20°C to 23°C with humidity peaking at about 80%, not so ideal to target the course record. Muktar Edris and Felix Kipkoech in the men’s, and Lemlem Hailu and Irene Cheptai in the women’s, were the clear pre-race favourites. Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, the half marathon world record holder, dropped out of the race for unknown reasons. The event’s overall purse of $268,000 (approx. ₹2.14 crore) makes it one of the richest in the half marathon category. The international elite winner will get $27,000 (approx ₹22.25 lakh) while Indian winners (men and women) collect ₹3,50,000.
The men’s race was quite a tight-packed race, to begin with. The leading pack reached the 5K mark at 14:21, where we also witnessed the pacemaker Bethwell Birgen dropping out, which is too early in pacing standards. Indian elites Avinash Sable and Kartik Kumar did manage to stick together with the international elites approaching the 10KM mark but dropped out before reaching the milestone. Sable was trying to pull Kumar with him around this mark as he was falling at least 50 meters behind. The leading men reached the 10K point at 28:48, at that point clearly behind the 60 mins mark until we see a negative-splits towards the end. It was a cat-and-mouse race between the likes of Joshua Belet, Felix Kipkoech, Chala Regasa, Michel Kamau, Boki Diriba and Muktar Edris at least until the last few kilometres. The last kilometre saw a shoulder-to-shoulder battle between Kipkoech, Regasa and Diriba, which then saw Regasa, a 26-year-old from Ethiopia emerging as the champion. He closed in the distance and broke the tape at 60:30, translating to a pace of 2:52 min/km. Kipkoech from Kenya finished second, closing the distance in 60:33. Regasa’s Ethiopian counterpart Diriba finished third at 60:34.
It was time to watch Indian elites, Sable and Kumar, in what was to be another sprint towards the title. We didn’t see a sprint finish though, with Sable comfortable in closing it together with Kumar. While we all assumed either of them finished at least a second ahead of the other, both Kumar and Sable closed in together at 63:58. Sable was claimed as the winner, finishing a fraction of a second ahead of Kumar. Srinu Bugatha finished third at 65:25.
In the women’s race, unlike running in a pack, the leading group preferred to stick together behind each other. Stella Chesang, Meseret Gebre and Lemlem Hailu initially were ahead, until we saw Irine Cheptai, Kenyan and the 2022 TCS World 10K Bengaluru champion, taking a leap approaching the 15KM mark right next to the marvellous India Gate. She claimed the title by running alone for the last quarter of the race paced by the pacemaker Lahsene Bouchikhi until the 20KM mark, finally breaking the tape at 66:42. Dawit Seyaum from Ethopia finished second in 68:02, while Stella Chesang from Uganda finished third at 68:11, creating a new Ugandan women’s half marathon record in the streets of Delhi. Sanjivani Jadhav won the Indian women’s race in 77:49, a victory chase for her after claiming the runner-up in the 2020 and 2016 editions. Moika Athare and Priti Lamba finished second and third with a timing of 78:39 and 79:06 respectively.
International Elite Men
- Chala Regasa (ETH) - 1:00:30
- Felix Kipkoech (KEN) - 1:00:33
- Boki Diriba (ETH) - 1:00:34
International Elite Women
- Irine Cheptai (KEN) - 1:06:43
- Dawit Seyaum (ETH) - 1:08:02
- Stella Chesang (UGA) - 1:08:11
Indian Elite Men
- Avinash Sable - 1:03:58:96
- Kartik Kumar - 1:03:59:00
- Srinu Bugatha - 1:05:25
Indian Elite Women
- Sanjivani Jadhav - 1:17:53
- Monika Athare - 1:18:39
- Priti Lamba - 1:19:06
Prepared by Team GeeksOnFeet for the love of running!
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