The ongoing metro work has forced the organisers of the $405,000 Tata Mumbai Marathon, to be run on January 21, to make some alterations in the finish route for elite runners over the last 700 metres.
However, race director Hugh Jones said that the changes made on the return route, that involved three turns instead of a single one before the runners sprinted over the last half km to the finish earlier, will not affect the timings by much in the 15th edition of the race.
“Because of the metro construction work the marathon course has changed slightly, but not significantly. It’s about 100m here and there. But we have also dropped some two U-turns after three years and kept one on the course. Over the last 700 metres there are three turns. It will add to the competitive spirit of the finish,” said Jones who has been associated with the marathon since its inception in 2004.
“It opens out more possibilities and the runners need to be careful instead of just relying on speed at the finish,” he explained further.
The turns over the last 700m will be taken by the runners with 650m, 350m and 260m left for the finish at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, he said, adding “it offers a good spread for a run.”
A total of 40 international runners comprising 18 men and 12 women and ten pace makers, are to take part in the men’s and women’s full marathon.
A total of 37 Indians, made up of 19 men and 18 women which includes recently crowned Asian champion Thonakal Gopi and 2016 Indian course record setter Nitendra Singh Rawat, among men, and 3000m steeplechase Guangzhou Asian Games woman gold medallist, Sudha Singh, will also take part in the race for the elite runners.
Ethiopias Solomon Daksisa, runner-up at last year’s Tokyo Marathon, and Kenyas Joshua Kipkorir are the top male entrants this year while defending champion Bornes Kitur of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Shuko Genemo are the pre-race favourites among women.
The men’s and women’s overall champions will take home USD 42,000 each in the event promoted by Procam International.
The race will be overseen by the Athletics Federation of India through its Maharashtra state unit’s technical personnel.
AFI’s technical representative, Satish Uchil, said that this year the AFI’s technical personnel will concentrate more on the entire course and keep minimum number of people at the finish which will be taken care of by chip timings.
“We will reduce the number of people at the start and finish line to reduce the crowd there. I expect the same from the others connected with the race, including the press,” he said.
He also made it clear that the AFI was yet to designate the marathon as any sort of trial for the April Commonwealth Games in Gold Course, Australia.
“As of now AFI has not announced this marathon as a trial for the Commonwealth Games,” he said.