Army runners Neeraj Pal and G Lakshmanan, along with Kavita Raut of ONGC, broke course records while winning men’s full marathon, half marathon and women’s half marathon, respectively in the 4th Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon.
Pal, based in Hyderabad, broke from the field after the 25-km mark to clock 2:22.38 in the full marathon. He broke Elam Singh’s time of 2:22.44 set in 2012.
Lakshmanan of ASI (Pune) improved on his own record of 67 minutes while clocking 64.56 in the half marathon.
The cool weather, the fast course and the large crowd support on the route inspired 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Kavita Raut to run a brave race, finishing in 76.10 minutes.
Kavita, who broke free from the 7km mark, was almost six minutes ahead of 2014 Asiad medal winner Lalita Babbar’s 2013 winning time of 82.07 minutes.
Kavita and Lakshman’s finishing times are among the fastest this year, beating Preeja Sreedhanran’s winning time of 79.03 in the Delhi Half Marathon. Lakshmanan’s time was just a few seconds behind Suresh Kumar’s winning time of 64.38 at Delhi.
Present on the occasion was batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, ace woman long jumper Anju Bobby George and ISL team Chennayin FC captain Mikael Silvestre.
Pal, who was trailing front runner Vinod Kumar in the initial stages, soon got into his groove to draw level and pull away. He then ran a lone race for about 20 kms before finishing strongly and bagging the winner’s purse of Rs. 2 lakh.