Bornes Jepkirui Kitur, 28-year-old Kenyan-born athlete, finished first at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon held yesterday. With a clocking of 2:29:02, she aced the full marathon elite women’s category. Despite the win, it was an uphill climb for her as she suffered blisters on her feet and had a painful finish.
This was the second Mumbai held marathon that Kitur participated in, finishing second last year with a timing of 2:32:00. Though the route was familiar to her, Kitur said: “Due to the tarmac, I developed sizeable blisters, but I was determined to complete the race. After the 38-km mark, the pain increased but I didn’t want to give up. I had no other Kenyan women with me. Thankfully, there was a Bolivian pacesetter till the 30-km mark, so I managed to get some help. I had to run alone till the finish line.”
Kitur has earlier won marathons in Brazil and Denmark. But it takes more than experience and a sporting spirit to bear pain and trudge on the tarmac with blistered feet, and still emerging a winner.
Unlike other marathons, Mumbai marathon failed to have a pre-warm up session. This, coupled with humid weather and the many treacherous uphill climbs made it more taxing for the runners. Poor visibility of water stations was another grievance.
With the top three women runners fighting hard and at 21 km mark, all of them recorded a timing of 1:14:03. Kitur eventually moved ahead of the other two to emerge victorious at the end. Ethiopia’s Chaltu Tafa clinched the silver as she clocked 2:33:03 with Tigist Girma coming third at 02:33:19.
From India, Maharashtra’s Jyoti Gawte was the first to finish the race with a timing of 02:50:53 while Shyamli Singh from West Bengal finished second with a timing of 3:08:41.