Delhi gears up for Sunday’s Vodafone Half Marathon


New Delhi : Thousands of citizens of the national capital will wake up early Sunday morning to take part in the third edition of the Vodafone Delhi Half Marathon.

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Around 28,000 people will be participating in the race, which offers total prize money of $160,000.

The presence of some of the top international runners will make Sunday’s race a spectacular event.

Though defending champions Francis Kibiwott and Lineth Chepkiri of Kenya are skipping the event due to injuries, the presence of men’s world No.3 Wilson Kiprotich and 2005 champion Philip Rugut will make it a keen race.

In the women’s section, world No.5 Kenyan Alice Timibillil and 2005 champion Irina Timofeyeva will lead the field.

Among the Indian runners, defending champions Ram Singh and Pampa Chanda in the men’s and women’s section respectively will be in the running.

Some of the other fancied Indian names include Bhairav Singh Leone, P. Nagendra Rao, Bipul Sharia and R.D. Subba among the men, and Rina Das and L. Aruna Devi among the women.

The new route, from the Central Secretariat Ground, is more athlete-friendly and organisers are hopeful of new event records.

“The new route is better than the one last year, which started and finished at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The surface is also smooth, with some ups and downs in the terrain,” said Hugh Jones, technical director of the marathon, here Wednesday.

“This time the race has been pushed back by two weeks so that we can have a cool weather. The temperature will remain cool at around 22 degrees and we hope that a new event record will be set,” he added.

The race will start from the Central Secretariat Ground at Vinay Marg and then the runners have to take left for Brigadier Hoshiyar Singh Road. They will then bend further left for Sri Aurobindo Marg and will take Prithviraj Road.

The runners will then take Mansingh Road towards Janpath and will circle around Windsor Place on their way back to the Central Secretariat Ground to complete the race.

Four races will be held, beginning with the senior citizens’ run at 7.10 a.m., followed by the main event, which will be flagged off at 7.45 a.m. The wheelchair race will start from 8.00 a.m. and the Great Delhi Run at 9.45 a.m.

Around 2,300 runners will take part in the senior citizens’ run, 7,000 for the half-marathon, 200 for the wheelchair event and 18,500 people will take part in the Great Delhi Run.

Around 41 corporate houses have pledged to raise over Rs.12 million for charity during the event.