Kenya’s Cosmas Lagat took victory in the men’s race in a time of 2:09:15 at the Mumbai Marathon on Sunday.
The men’s race naturally started steadily and a large pack of 14 runners – including three pacemakers – went through 10 kilometres in 30:53, 20 kilometres in 1:02:18 and the halfway point in 1:05:15.
However, Lagat made a decisive surge just before 29 kilometres and quickly put daylight between himself and his rivals, partially splitting up the leading pack.
Lagat passed 30 kilometres in 1:32:34, assisted by two pacemakers whom he kept instructing to go faster, with a chasing pack of seven men 11 seconds behind.
The remaining pacemakers were to drop out at about 32 kilometres but Lagat bravely pressed on and kept on increasing the gap, to almost 40 seconds by 35 kilometres, although later he admitted that despite feeling strong, he spent much of the final 10 kilometres running scared.
“It was a good moment to make a break, but I also knew there were good runners behind me,” he said. “From 35km I was never sure how close there were to me or whether they were coming back to me.”
In fact, at 38 kilometres he had almost a minute’s lead before Ethiopia’s Aychew Bantie edged away from his compatriot Shumet Akalnew in the closing kilometres to clinch second and reduce the winning margin to 50 seconds by the finish.
Lagat crossed the line in 2:09:15 for his third win over the classic distance in six outings, his other two victories also coming in hot weather conditions in the Spanish city of Seville. Bantie finished second in 2:10:05 and Akalnew third in 2:10:14.
“I thought Lagat might come back to us in the last kilometres because he had changed his pace so quickly and he ran so fast (between 29 and 35 kilometres),” said Bantie. “But after 35km I knew I was running for second place.”
Pre-race favourite Abera Kuma of Ethiopia, the fastest man in the field with a best of 2:05:50, drifted away from the leading pack just after 30 kilometres and from that point was never in contention for a place on the podium, eventually finishing seventh in 2:13:10.
1 Cosmas Lagat (KEN) 2:09:15
2 Aychew Bantie (ETH) 2:10:05
3 Shumet Akalnew (ETH) 2:10:14
4 Daniel Muteti (KEN) 2:10:55
5 Ayenew Mekuant (ETH) 2:11:16
6 Silas Too (KEN) 2:12:06
7 Abera Kuma (ETH) 2:13:10
8 Deresa Geleta (ETH) 2:13:11.
Source: ANA|COMPATRIOT MAGAZINE