Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana lived up to their billings by taking the top honours in the 18th edition of the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon in Delhi on Sunday.
Ayana, the 2016 Rio Olympic Champion and winner of the Delhi Half Marathon six years ago, came close to her 2017 winning time in the women’s race. Running with the company of fellow Ethiopians Aberash Minsewo and Dessie Anchinalu. With Kenyan Viola Chepngeno
and Uganda’s Stella Chesang they covered the first quarter of the race in 15:45-15:47 while Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, the Rio Olympics 5000m gold medallist was slightly behind.
Although Ayana maintained her 16-minute pace for each of the five-kilometre sections, she started to slow down in the final phases of the race as her nearest challenger Chesang was a distance away and had to run her own race. Ayana went on to claim the top spot in 67:58.
Uganda’s Chesang finished 28 seconds later for second place while Viola Chepngeno from Kenya completed the podium in 69:09. For Chesang it was one place up from her last year’s position in Delhi.
“I am happy about winning here. It was not an easy race and the weather was a bit hot as well. However, it was great to run at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to the event and this race has helped me prepare for the events in
future,” said Almaz.
A large group of about eight Kenyan runners along with the Ethiopian Addisu Gobena took the lead in the men’s race. The group of runners stayed together until the 13th kilometre when Ebenyo and his teammate Charles Matata started breaking away from the rest. Matata, the
runner-up in this year’s Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in Madrid was pushing Ebenyo for another five kilometres. However, Ebenyo, the silver medallist in the World Half Marathon Championships earlier this year, increased his pace at the right time to move at least half a minute ahead of Matata.
Daniel Ebenyo romped home the winner in 59 minutes 27 seconds. Matata took 60:05 for the silver spot whilst Addisu Gobena brought some cheer to the Ethiopian camp 46 seconds later as his country-mate and reigning champion Chala Regasa left the race midway.
“It was amazing to run here, however, I am disappointed with my timing. I was aiming for the event record but fell short. But, nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience to run in the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. Hopefully, I will be able to break the event record next year. I
would like to congratulate the organizers of the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon for hosting a brilliant event”, said Ebenyo.
Indian Elite Race
Abhishek Pal reclaimed the Indian Elite Men’s title at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon 2023 after competing neck and neck with Asian Games 2022 Silver Medallist Kartik Kumar. Pal recorded a timing of 64:07, while Kartik missed the top prize by a fraction of a second and
finished with 64:08. Meanwhile, Sawan Barwal finished third with a timing of 64:17.
Abhishek Pal was the 2018 winner with 64:13 and he bettered his timing in this edition.
Speaking about his victory, Abhishek Pal said, “Kartik and I have had a lot of close contests and today we had another one. It’s great to clinch first place in the Indian Elite Men’s race once again. Kartik and I train together and I am really happy about his achievement at the
Asian Games. We’ll definitely have another photo finish at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon next year.”
Meanwhile, Kartik Kumar expressed, “I thought for a moment during the race that I might not win a Medal today, but fortunately, I won a Silver and I am very happy about it. I trained hard for the last few days and I wanted to do justice to my training.”
Kavita Yadav clinched the first position in the Indian Elite Women’s Race on her Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon debut with a timing of 77:42, while Rima Patel (77:48) and Poonam Dinkar Sonune (77:49) finished second and third respectively.
Yadav expressed her excitement after clinching Gold in the Indian Elite Women’s Race, “I am thrilled to win the Indian Elite Women’s race at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon on my debut. The race got very close towards the end and I had to push hard in the last 400m to
ensure that I finished first. It was a great experience to run in Delhi and I will certainly come back to defend my title.”
Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon’ble Minister of Youth Affairs, Sports and IMB graced his presence at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon 2023. Speaking about the event, he said, “I am delighted to see the response for the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. The participation of
36000 runners showed the enthusiasm with which the country has embraced the FIT India Movement envisioned by Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi ji and it has become a people’s movement. The atmosphere in the stadium was the most vibrant that I
have seen, and it is evident that citizens are embracing fitness and good health as a way of life.”
TOP RESULTS MEN HALF MARATHON
1. Daniel Ebenyo (KEN) 59:27
2. Charles Matata (KEN) 60:05
3. Addisu Gobena (ETH) 60:51
4. Isaac Kipkemboi (KEN) 60:52
5. Isaia Lasoi (KEN) 60:55
6. Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 61:36
7. Roncer Konga (KEN) 62:05
8. Vincent Kimaiyo (KEN) 63:18
9. Gideon Kiprotich Rop (KEN) 63:51
10. Abhishek Pal (IND) 64:07
TOP RESULTS WOMEN HALF MARATHON
1. Almaz Ayana (ETH) 67:58
2. Stella Chesang (UGA) 68:28
3. Viola Chepngeno (KEN) 69:09
4. Aberash Minsewo (ETH) 69:50
5. Vivian Cheriyot (KEN) 71:26
6. Anchinalu Dessie (ETH) 71:34
7. Bertukan Welde (ETH) 72:00
8. Mare Dibaba (ETH) 72:02
9. Betelihen Afenigus (ETH) 72:25
10. Nurit Ahmed (ETH) 77:26
Featured image: Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia), photo credit: Procam International