Country’s best runners to feature in ADHM
Last year’s winners, Rahul Kumar Pal and Sudha Singh will return to defend their titles among the Indians at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon to be flagged off on Sunday, December 15. Training at the Army Sports Institute, Pune, Rahul won in a relatively slow time of 66.12 minutes in hot and humid conditions and will be looking forward to better his personal best of 65 minutes. Sudha, currently the best distance runner in the country, having added the half marathon crown at the Mumbai Marathon in Jan 2013 to her kitty will also be looking to better her last year’s timing of 79.34 minutes.
Both athletes will also be looking to lower the course records, which carry a bonus of Rs 1 lakh, in addition to the winner’s purse of Rs 2.5 lakhs. The course record of 64 minutes for men stands in the name of Deepchand Shaharan, set in 2009, while for women its 77.12 minutes, set by Kavita Raut in 2008.
The Indian men’s elite field will have 53 runners, among them names like V L Dangi, who has a personal best of 64 mins; Kheta Ram, Hoshiar Singh and G Laxmanan, all 65 minute athletes. Also in the fray are former winners Suresh Kumar Patel, Irappa D Akki and Soji Mathew, who will be looking to stake their claim to a podium finish.
Among the women, Sudha will have to contend with the other two fancied names of distance running, Kavita Raut and Preeja Sreedharan. Kavita, back from a break, recently won the Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon and will be looking to regain her title. The other women to look out for in the field of 25 are the sisters Monika and Rohini Raut, former winner Lalita Babbar, Vijaymala Patil, Swati Gadhwe and Neelam Rajput, to name a few.