The 11th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon begins on Sunday

India’s elite men marathon runners will vie for the winner’s prize money of Rs. 5 lakh in the 11th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon here on Sunday. With the Mawana Sugars Indian Open Marathon (Feb. 23) cancelled the top Indian runners over a distance of 42.195 kms have assembled here in large numbers to provide edge to the competition and look upon the SCMM event as the national championship.

While the overseas elite runners, majority of them from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and South Africa are expected to sizzle the course for the winner’s cheque of $ 41,000, Indians with their personal best would run a different race within the overall marathon in order to achieve lower timings and grab the attractive cash prize. The organisers have offered a bonus of Rs. 1 lakh to the runner who breaks Ram Singh Yadav’s course record of 2. 16.59 seconds.

The coordinator of the Indian elite athletes (men and women) for the prestigious meet here, the 1992 Asian marathon champion Sunita Godara said: ``The Mawana has been cancelled and the AFI could have declared another event as the national marathon. The Services takes into account performances in the national marathon for promotions. Obviously Mawana Sugars did not have the budget this year, but there are a little over 70 men and women elite marathon and half-marathon runners here. The SCMM is easily the best prize money with the winners in men and women receiving Rs. 5 lakh each and the tenth place receiving Rs. 50,000 each,’’ she said.

The Army runners dominate the card and according to Army and Services coach for middle and long distance running and walk and marathon, K. S. Mathew – who is set to retire on March 31 after a distinguished service of 34 years --- the top ten services runners will be in action on Sunday.

Ram Singh Yadav (Army, Hyderabad) who achieved a personal best here at the SCMM 12 to qualify for the London Olympics said he’s not fully fit having suffered knee and hip related injuries while training. ``I will try my best, but would cherish if someone breaks my course record and takes away the bonus of Rs. 1 lakh.’’

The other prominent men runners are Binning Lyngkhoi, Elam Singh, Karan Singh, Sanvaroo Yadav, Budha Ram and Rashpal Singh. Satya Prakash who won the Kolkata Marathon on January 5 and Gajilal Patle who finished second there will run their second marathon in 14 days. ``It’s not medically advisable, but they are running,’’ said Sunita.

Among the top women marathon runners are Lalita Babar, Vijay Mala Patil, Rohini Raut, M. Sudha and Neelam Rajput.

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