New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS): Atsedu Tsegay of Ethiopia registered a new course record to win the men’s race while Kenyan Florence Kiplagat won the women’s title at the $210,000 Delhi Half Marathon here Sunday morning.
Tsegay broke the previous record held by compatriot Deriba Merga (59:15) to come home three seconds faster in 59 minutes and 12 seconds. Kenyans Geoffrey Kipsang (59:30) and Wilson Kiprop (59:49) finished second and third, respectively, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Kenyan athletes swept the podium among the women with Florence finishing in a photo-finish, clocking one hour and eight minutes, ahead of Gladys Cherono by only just three seconds while Lucy Kabuu was third (1:08.10).
Tsegay, who ran the fastest marathon of 2012 in Ethiopia (58:47), bagged $7,500 for setting a new course record in addition to the $25,000 for winning the race. The Ethiopian breasted the tape, fell down to the ground and touched it with his forehead, saluting it.
“The competition was good with very good athletes. The race was organised well and the weather was also perfect. This is my first time here and I am glad to have to won the race,” said Tsegay, who ran his first race in more than a year after recovering from an ankle injury.
Second place man Kipsang, who pocketed $18,000, had to overcome personal tragedy to partake in the competition.
“I lost my brother Elias on Friday. He was sick and I took him to the hospital back home on Tuesday before coming here. After his death I was in two minds, whether to run this race or go back,” said the emotional Kenyan.
“But I thought, now that I am here, I will run the race. Even during the race I had his thoughts in my mind and it was very difficult concentrating,” said Kipsang, dedicating his second position in memory of his brother.
Defending champion Edwin Kipyego of Kenya was 26 seconds slower than last year to finish eighth, clocking 1:01.21.
In the women’s race, Florence was exhausted after her win and collapsed after crossing the finish line, vomiting immediately. She needed some time out before briefing the press after her win.
“I was a bit slow today and not feeling well. The weather was very nice. I was supposed to come here Friday but for some reasons I reached yesterday. So tactically it wasn’t the right timing, reaching yesterday and then racing today,” said Florence, who also pocketed $25,000 for her win.
Gladys and Lucy bagged $18,000 and $12,000 for second and third positions, same as the men.