Extreme heat dampens half marathon results

A host of factors — relatively high temperatures, humidity, injuries to some high profile participants — combined to put paid to hopes of fast timings in the 2012 edition of the Delhi Half Marathon.

The men's race, thanks to a strong field of twelve sub 60-minute runners, was expected to run the world record close. Instead, it was won by relative newcomer in 22-year-old Edwin Kipyego of Kenya, who finished with a time of 1:00:55, nearly two minutes off the course record of 59:15.

Yemane Tsegaye of Ethiopia, who has the best half marathon timing this year, finished sixth with 1:02:44 , while two-time winner and defending Lelisa Desisa battled an Achilles tendon injury to finish seventh.

The women on the course fared even worse with Ethiopia's Yimer Wude winning with a time of 1:11:10, more than four minutes off the course mark of 1:06:54. Defending champion Aselefech Mergia, who was recovering from a hamstring injury, was cut down by another leg injury and didn't finish the race.

Usually held in November, a crowded racing schedule saw the race shifted to the end of September. And despite starting the race half an hour earlier, the 70 per cent humidity took its toll. India's upcoming prospect Monika Athare had to be stretchered off with cramps early in the race.

Even keeping their modest standards in mind, the Indian athletes underperformed, with Sudha Singh topping the charts with a time of 1:19:34, more than two minutes slower than Kavita Raut's course record of 1:17:12. "I was taking part in the race only so that I could get some practice. If I had run this race, at the same time last year, I would have performed better because it would have been my peak season. But right now, I am only recovering," she said.

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