Mumbai: Long-distance runners Ethiopia and Kenya are once again set to dominate the USD 350,000 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon's tenth edition tomorrow.
Kenyans and Ethiopians have captured all the men's and women's titles in the annual event barring a couple of occasions in the women's category and a repeat is on the cards in cool conditions tomorrow morning. The men's course record of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 54 seconds set by Ethiopian winner Girma Assefa two years ago is under threat with defending champion Laban Moiben of Kenya leading the assault.
"I will be happy to win. I am not thinking about the course record. If it (course record) comes along, fine. I am not training for it. The conditions can be tough," said the 29-year-old Kenyan, who edged out Ethiopian rival Raji Assefa in a photo-finish in last year's race.
"It was a tough race last year. But the conditions, especially the humidity, were not bad. I don't know (about the conditions) this time," he added.
The elite men's field in the 42.1 km Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus-Bandra (via Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link)-CST route also includes the inaugural edition's winner Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa, last year's runner-up Raji Assefa and third-placed John Kyui.
Moiben and Assefa were locked in a close tussle for the first place in the 2012 edition and both clocked 2:10.48, with the Kenyan passing through a fraction of a second ahead of the Ethiopian. This time, though, it's the Ethiopian Assefa who comes with the huge reputation of being the fastest athlete in the field, having clocked 2:06.24 while winning the 2012 Paris Marathon.
Moiben too has had a good run in 2012, defending his title in the Ottawa Marathon, by clocking a personal best of 2:09.13.