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Ram Singh, Madhuri Gurnule win Thane Marathon

Written by: Staff

Thane, July 23 (UNI) A strong finishing run by Ram Singh Yadav, which saw him take over race leader Bhoi Parshuram with about 800 meteres to go to emerge as the men's champion and a confident race by Madhuri Gurnule that saw her win a start-to-finish women's event, were the features of the 17th Thane Mayor's Varsha Marathon, which, true to its name, was accompanied by torrential rains in Thane today.

26-year-old Yadav from Army Sports Institute completed the 21 km run in one hour 11 minutes and 56 seconds to win a crash prize of Rs 51,000, while Madhuri clocked one hour, two minutes, 19 seconds to win the 15km run for women and took home Rs 35,000.

According to official figures, around 51,000 athletes took part in the eight categories of races organised by Thane Mahanagarpalika, under the aegis and technical guidance of the Maharashtra Athletic Association.

It was Kolhapur's Bhoi Parshuram who set the early pace and opened up quite a sizeable lead over the rest of the competitors. By the time the runners had settled into their rhythm, Parshuram had disappeared from sight and it was only after 12 kms that Yadav spotted him in the distance, till which time he was under the impression that he was the leader.

Yadav picked up the pace but only managed to draw level with Parshuram with 1.5 kms to go and both runners ran neck-to-neck till less than a km to go, before Yadav's pace kicked in again and he pulled ahead to touch the tape first. Parshuram finished in 1:12.02, while Shahnawaz P M took third place with a timing of 1:13.15.

Madhuri, an accomplished half marathon runner, had no such problems over the 15 km lead as she set the pace and led the two other finishers, Geeta Rani of Western Railway and Jaimala Patil of Sangli to the finish. Still running strongly, at the finish Gurnule was more than two minutes ahead of the second placed Geeta (1: 04.23), while Jaimala clocked 1:04.50.

Yadav, basically a 10,000 m runner, had finished second in the Bangalore Marathon in 2005 and said he could have clocked a faster timing here if not for the constant showers.

''The rains were making it difficult to follow the road, which had quite a few potholes, and that effected my speed,'' said Yadav.

His comments were echoed by Madhuri, who still had plenty of reserves in her to clock a much faster timing, but she too took it easy because of the rains and the condition of the roads.

Fancied full marathon runners Omprakash and Nathuram finished eighth and ninth respectively, but were satisfied with their perfromances as they were basically using this event as practice for the full marathon in the coming months.

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