Ebenyo and Ayana triumph in Delhi Half Marathon


Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo and Ethiopian Almaz Ayana lived up to the expectations as they won the men’s and women’s elite races respectively at the Delhi Half Marathon here on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Ebenyo, who won a silver medal in the 10000m race at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, finished the men’s race in 59 minutes and 27 seconds, ahead of fellow Kenyan Charles Matata (1:00:05) and Ethiopia’s Addisu Gobena (1:00:51).
Ayana, who won a 10000m gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, topped the women’s elite race in one hour, seven minutes and 59 seconds, ahead of Uganda’s Stella Chesang (1:08:28) and Kenya’s Viola Chepngeno (1:09:09).
Abhishek Pal and Kavita Yadav were the fastest in the Indian men’s and women’s elite categories, clocking 1:04:08 and 1:17:42 respectively.
The 31-year-old Ayana, winner of the Delhi Half Marathon six years ago, came close to her 2017 winning time of 1:07:11 in the women’s race.
Running in company of her country-mates Aberash Minsewo and Dessie Anchinalu as well as Kenya’s Viola Chepngeno and Uganda’s Stella Chesang, Ayana maintained her 16-minute pace for each of the 5km intervals.
But she slowed down in the final phase of the race and ran alone as her nearest challenger Chesang was way behind her. Ayana went on to claim the top spot in 67:58 seconds. Chesang finished 28 seconds later for the second place while Chepngeno from Kenya completed the podium in 69:09. For Chesang, it was one place up from her last year’s position in Delhi.
“It was not an easy race and the weather was a bit hot as well. However, it was great to run at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to the event and this race has helped me prepare for the events in future,” said Ayana.
In the men’s elite race, a group of eight runners, mostly Kenyans, stayed together until the 13-km mark when Ebenyo and his compatriot Charles Matata started breaking away from the rest. Matata, the runner-up in this year’s Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in Madrid, was pushing Ebenyo for another five kilometres. However, Ebenyo, the silver medallist in the World Half Marathon earlier this year, increased his pace at the right time to move at least half a minute ahead of Matata.
Ebenyo won the Delhi Half Marathon in 59 minutes and 27 seconds, narrowly missing the event record. Matata secured the second spot with a time of 60:05, followed closely by Addisu Gobena at 60:51. Ebenyo expressed disappointment in missing the record but hoped to break it next year. In the Indian elite men’s category, Abhishek Pal reclaimed the title with a time of 64:07, edging out Kartik Kumar at 64:08. Kavita Yadav made her marathon debut with a victory in the Indian elite women’s race, clocking 77:42. The event saw enthusiastic participation of 36,000 runners, reflecting India’s embrace of the FIT India Movement, as noted by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.