Delhi Half Marathon: Kenyas Daniel Ebenyo And Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana Take Top Honours

New Delhi: 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 the capital city on Sunday. Ayana, the 2016 Rio Olympics Champion and winner of the Delhi Half Marathon six years ago, came closer to her 2017 winning time in the women’s race. Running with the company of her country-mates Aberash MInsewo and Dessie Anchinalu besides the Kenyan Viola Chepngeno as well as Uganda’s Stella Chesang, covered the first quarter of the race in 15:45-15:47 while the other runner from Kenya – Vivian Cheruiyot, the Rio Olympics 5000m victor was slightly behind.

Although Ayana maintained her 16-minute pace for each of the five-kilometre intervals, but thereafter slowed down in the final phases of the race as her nearest challenger Stella was a distance away and had to run her own race. Ayana went on to claim the top spot in 67:58. Uganda’s Stella Chesang finished 28 seconds later for the 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. Charles, 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 Medalist in the World Half Marathon earlier this year, increased his pace at the right time to move at least half a minute ahead of Charles. Daniel Ebenyo romped home the winner in 59 minutes 27 seconds. Charles 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.