Two world marathon runners made of Kenyan Levy Matebo and Ethiopian Ayele Abshero are expected to deliver healthy challenge at this year’s Mumbai marathon on their first time in the Indian City next weekend.
The duo will be debuting for the 14th edition of the Standard Chartered Bank sponsored race on January 15th.
The Mount Elgon born Matebo has his personal best of 2:05.16 against the 26 year old Abshero the former world junior cross country champion in 2:04.23 and will be the fastest man on the start line.
Abshero set his 2:04:23 in 2012 at the Dubai Marathon on his spectacular debut over the distance, setting the record on debutants in a 42km race away from the 2:09:00 three times since then and he will come to Mumbai.
With a course record of 2:08:35 set last year by Kenya’s Gideon Kipketer the duo might lower the time as no less than four men with personal bests under 2:08:00 and 12 who have run faster than 2:10:00, have been recruited by race promoters Procam International.
Those to be at the starting line up include Ethiopia’s Seboka Dibaba and Kenya’s Jacob Chesari. The pair were second and fifth respectively in 2016 and, in addition to aiming to do better this time around, they also have personal bests faster than the course record.
Even though his personal best only stands at 2:09:19, another man to look out for is
Alphonce Simbu. The Tanzanian was an impressive fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and he could make a big improvement in Mumbai.
The favourite for the women’s race in Mumbai looks to be Ethiopia’s Dinknesh Mekash, a two-time winner in Mumbai after having triumphed in 2014 and 2015 and who has a personal best of 2:23.12, set when she finished second in the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon.
There are six women in the field with personal bests under 2:30:00 but Mekash twice ran under 2:29:00 in 2016. The SCMM women’s course record is 2:24:33 by Kenya’s Valentine Kipketer in 2013.
The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon has a total prize fund of US$384,000, making it India’s richest road race, and it has established itself as one of Asia’s leading races over the classic distance since it was inaugurated in 2004.
Approximately 42,000 runners will take to the roads in Mumbai for the five different races in what has become an annual event on the third Sunday of January.
In addition to the marathon, there is a half marathon, Dream Run (6km), Senior Citizens Race (4.3km) and Champions with Disability Race (2.4km).