Kochi | Defending champions Bernard Kipyego and Helah Kiprop of Kenya retained the men’s and women’s titles in the second edition of Cochin International Half Marathon today, breaking their own course records. Kipyego crossed the finish line in 62.38 min, 18 seconds faster than his own time of 62.56, set last year.
He was followed home by compatriot Helah Kiprop, who demolished the talented field to finish in 71.40 min, 14 seconds faster than her time of 71.54 min set last year. G Lakshmanan also emulated the Kenyans, defending his crown with a finish time of 65.49 min, more than a minute slower than his last year’s winning time of 64.37 min in the Indian men’s category and Gopi T was second (66.13 min), while Kheta Ram took bronze clocking 66.16 min, the organisors said in a press release here.
The Indian woman’s category saw a new champion in debutant O P Jaisha, who took gold with a timing of 75.53 min, which is the alltime best among Indian women in the half marathon in the last two years. She was followed by Lalita Babar, a threetime winner of the Mumbai Marathon, who clocked 77.28 mins.
While Kipyego and Helah won USD 5500 for their efforts, they were also rewarded with a course record bonus of USD 1500 each. Both Jaisha and Babar took home Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh each, and will also stand to gain Rs 1 lakh for finishing below 78 minutes. A total of 18 international athletes and 39 professional runners from India participated in the race. In the celebrity run, brand ambassador of the event, superstar Mohanlal lifted the spirits of the crowds.
The whole event was witnessed by thousands of people who had lined up the streets of Kochi to cheer the runners and the celebrities.
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