Kenyans run to glory, mesmerise Pune
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A maize farmer from Kenya's long-distance running nursery, Eldoret, won the 27th edition of the Pune International Marathon on Sunday. Thirty-two-year-old Luka Kipkemoi Chelimo coasted to the finishing line at Nehru Stadium in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 3 seconds.
Kirui Simon Kiprugut of Kenya and Danel Aschenik Derese of Ethiopia came second and third respectively.
In the women's half marathon, Kenyans made a clean sweep of the top three positions. Kamulu Pauline Kaveke took the top honour, reaching the finish in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 37 seconds. Mutune Agnes Katunge finished second and Muysyoka Hellen Nzembi third.
Services' athlete Gajilal Patle who finished 17th in the men's full marathon was the best Indian runner clocking 2 hours, 29 minutes and 33 seconds. Shivdan Singh Barala was the second best Indian athlete, finishing 19th. In the women's half marathon, Asian Games silver medallist Kavita Raut finished ninth, being the best-placed Indian athlete, in 1 hour 17 minutes and 38 seconds.
This was Luka Kipkemoi Chelimo's first marathon win and the diminutive Kenyan said he knew he had a good chance once he crossed the 20-km mark. "My rhythm was good, I was breathing very well and the pace was perfect. Once I crossed the 25-km mark without trouble, I felt like the win was within my grasp," he said.
Kipkemoi Chelimo's previous best was at the Beijing Marathon in 2010 where he finished second. He said his first experience of running a marathon in India was good and he would definitely return. "The weather was great, it wasn't too cold or too hot. It was perfect weather to run and I think I am definitely going to try and participate in more events in India," he said.
Pauline Kaveke, the 19-year-old winner of the women's half marathon also recorded her first marathon win of her career on Sunday. The petite Kaveke who hails from Machakos in central Kenya said she was glad to post a win early in her career as a professional athlete. "I love running and want to be known as one of Kenya's great athletes. I think it's a great beginning. It was great to win the Pune Marathon. I enjoyed running in the city and completing the race in 68 minutes is a good achievement," said Kaveke. She had participated in the Nagpur Marathon in 2011 and finished sixth.