Derara Hurisa wasn’t the the favourite for Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020 but the Ethiopian upset the odds to win in a course record of 2:08:09 here on Sunday.
Hurisa was rewarded with his biggest ever pay day, a $45,000 winners cheque and a $15,000 course record bonus.
The amount he picked up on Sunday for his stunning win was more than he had pocketed across his entire career.
In addition, the race was won with a pair of borrowed racing shoes.
“I misplaced my shoes while travelling from Addis Ababa to Mumbai earlier in the week. So I borrowed some shoes from my friend Abraham Girma (who also ran the Tata Mumbai Marathon). So I only tried them on for the first time yesterday,” Hurisa revealed after the race.
In a thrilling finish to the 17th edition of TMM, three men approached the last kilometre together, but Hurisa went through the gears as the trio passed that check point and he pulled away from his compatriots Ayele Abshero and Birhanu Teshome.
Abshero and Teshome finished second and third respectively in a time of 2:08:20 and 2:08:26, both coming inside the previous course record of 2:08:35.
Prior to Sunday, 22-year-old Hurisa’s most notable achievement was winning the silver medal in the African Cross Country Championships U20 race four years ago.
This was Hurisa’s second international win, the other being a low-key half marathon in Turkey in 2017.
The men’s race started at a pace which indicated a course record was on the cards, and the weather was several degrees cooler.
A large group of 18 men, including pacemakers, sped through the 10km marker in 30.01, 20km in 1:00:35 and hit the halfway mark in 1:03:52.
However, as the second half of the race progressed, runners started to regularly drop off the back of the leading pack with the leaders passing 30km in 1:30:52 although eight men still remained in contention at 35km.
As the runners passed the 36km marker, Teshome put his head down and started pumping his arms, attempting to almost sprint away from his rivals. It was a short-lived surge but it had the effect of splintering what remained of the pack.
With four kilometres left, Hurisa, Abshero and Teshome still had Uganda’s 2013 Mumbai Marathon winner Jackson Kiprop for company and their Ethiopian compatriot Abera Kuma, after going through a bad patch, was back in contention.
First Abera and then Kiprop broke off with three kilometres to go, but the Ethiopian trio stayed together, testing each other, until Harisa made his decisive move.
Kenya’s defending champion Cosmas Lagat had much earlier dropped out injured at around 14 kilometres.
In the women’s race, Amane Beriso stormed back after a 15-month injury-induced absence from competition to win the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020 in a time of 2:24:51.
Despite being 38 seconds adrift of race leader Kenya’s Rodah Jepkorir at the 30km checkpoint, with Ethiopia’s defending champion Worknesh Alemu drifting back off the lead and shortly to drop out, over the next kilometre Beriso reeled in Jepkorir and then overhauled the 2019 winner of the Gold Coast and Buenos Aires Marathons.
Once out on her own, Beriso was never challenged and, despite looking extremely tired over the final few kilometres, she came home more than two minutes clear of Jepkorir who crossed the line second in 2:27:14 with Ethiopia’s marathon debutante Haven Hailu third in 2:28:56.
“I was nervous to start because I had spent so long without racing, but I started to feel confident at about 31 kilometres and I was certain I could win from about 36 kilometres,”said Beriso.
“With a kilometre to go, my (male) pacemaker Sylvester Kiptoo was pointing at his watch and was telling me I could still get the course record but I was tired. I tried but I couldn’t do it,” she added.
Nevertheless, Beriso will go into the record books as the second fastest woman in Mumbai Marathon’s history, despite finishing 18 seconds outside the 2014 course record of Kenyas Valentine Kipketer.
India Inc goes the extra mile
JSW Group’s Sajjan Jindal participateS in the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020, on Sunday
1. Derara Hurisa (ETH)
2. Ayele Abshero (ETH)
3. Birhanu Teshome (ETH)
4. Jackson Kiprop (UGA)
5. Abdi Ali (BRN)
1. Amane Beriso (ETH)
2. Rodah Jepkorir (KEN)
3. Haven Hailu (ETH)
4. Fetale Dejene (ETH)
5. Maeregu Hayelom (ETH)