For Dadi Solomon Teka, three months of practice and for Urga Abdu Kebebe, the determination to get a podium finish, finally paid off as the Ethiopian duo claimed the first and second spot during the 34th Pune International Marathon held in the city on Sunday.
Teka claimed the men’s title after completing the run in two hours and 17.6 minutes. However, he witnessed a tough fight from his country mate, Urga Abdu Kebebe, who finished second with a timing of two hours and 19. 3 minutes.
The 26-year old Teka was running in Pune for the first time, but was well prepared and had studied the previous Pune Marathons, also won by Ethiopians. “I was excited to be a part of the event since Ethiopian runners have won the Pune Marathon so many times over the years. I had practised for three months ahead of the event and right from the start, Kebebe gave me a tough fight and he was ahead in initial stages of the run. I was tried to catch up and finally managed to do it in the last three kilometres,” said Teka.
Dadi Solomon Teka of Ethiopia receives his winner’s cheque after finishing first at the Pune International Marathon on Sunday. ( Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO )
Kebebe was visiting the country for the second time as he had participated in the Pune half marathon in 2018. “I came fourth during last year’s half marathon in Pune. I practised a lot over the past year to be prepared for the full marathon,” added Kebebe.
Yigezu Belaynesh Shifera, another Ethiopian won the women’s title in the run held at the Baburao Sanas Ground.
Degefa Merga Bekele of Ethiopia (2:20.4) claimed third spot in the annual marathon event. At least twenty Ethiopian nationals took part in the event and were seen pacing the distance ahead of their Indian counterparts right from the start, with no one challenging their grit.
“I have run four marathons so far. The conditions were favourable for running. My best timing is 2:14.0. I also take part in half marathons,” added Teka.
Among women, the top three positions went to Ethiopia as Yigezu Belaynesh Shifera completed the 41.195km distance in two hours and 43.6 seconds ahead of Simegn Tilahun Fekede (2:58.3) and Hei Megertu Gemechu (2:39.1) respectively.
Organisers chose a new route for the marathon this year and introduced two laps (21km each) for the full marathon as runners enjoyed the new stretch which has less turns as compared to previous routes
Run for a healthy life: Narayan Kandamwar
Sixty-seven-year-old Narayan Kandamwar was tired when he went to collect his medal after completing the half marathon in one hour and 47.57 minutes, but his wish is to send across a message to the youth, which is, run for a healthy life as it will help you stay fit.
Kandamwar has been participating in runs since 2013 and is a regular participant of the Pune International Marathon.
“This is my pet event. I like running so I participate in the half marathon. Today, I participated in the run without any practice,” added Kandamwar, who has also participated in the Mumbai marathon once.
Contestants from all walks of life made the 34th Pune International Marathon a unique experience as the city came to life early on Sunday morning. ( Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO )
Full Marathon (42.195km):
Men: 1. Dadi Solomon Teka (Ethiopia) 2:17.6; 2. Urga Abdu Kebebe (Ethiopia) 2:19.3; 3. Degefa Merga Bekele (Ethiopia) 2:20.4.
Women: 1. Yigezu Belaynesh Shifera (Ethiopia) 2:43.6; 2. Simegn Tilahun Fekede (Ethiopia)2:58.3; 3. Hei Megertu Gemechu (Ethiopia) 2:39.1
Half Marathon (21kms):
Men: 1. Hailu Eticha Humesa (Ethiopia) 1:06.3; 2. Urge Kuba Eshetu (Ethiopia) 1:07.1; 3. Haile Mengistu Workneh (Ethiopia) 1:07.2.
Women: 1. Gashu Samrawit Nega (Ethiopia) 1:17.6; 2. Tefera Kolone Mekashu 1:18.1 (Ethiopia); 3. Gatheru Hannah Wnjiru (Kenya) 1:21.1