Yes, you heard it right. That’s the number of running enthusiasts who are going to feel special after completing their runs on coming Sunday.
On Sunday, November 23, 2014, the nation’s capital will host the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2014 (ADHM), Delhi’s largest annual sporting celebration. On that day, the same roads that Delhites live, toil, train and drive on day after day will provide a stage for people from diverse nationalities, lifestyles, and occupations to make half marathon history! .
In yet another pointer to the manner in which the sport of distance running is engulfing the nation, registrations to ADHM 2014 received an overwhelming response and had to be closed before the cut-off date. The event is expected to witness participation from 32,450 runners from across India and different corners of the world. The Half Marathon has received 12,200 entries, the DHL corporate champions has 160 teams, while the Great Delhi Run 18,200 entries. The Senior Citizens’ Run will have 1,200 participants, and the Champions with Disability Event 220.
Speaking about the 2014 edition, Mohit Beotra, Chief Brand Officer, Bharti Airtel said, “As Delhi witnesses the final countdown to the 7th edition of ADHM 2014, Airtel salutes the incessant spirit of people who have displayed their passion and enthusiasm through the will to participate. Airtel Delhi Half Marathon has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years and the phenomenal participation is endeavoring to touch millions from all walks of life. The event registrations closing much before the stipulated date, is a testimony that ADHM has played a transformational role in bringing individuals and organizations together. We wish luck to each participant and look forward to another thrilling year of ADHM.”
Fiercely competitive field to battle it out at ADHM: Global Sports Communication (GSC), the event’s elite athlete coordinator has put together a highly competitive field of elite athletes for the 2014 edition.
Leading the field at the stadium’s start line on Sunday will be individuals such as 2014’s World Half Marathon Champion and former world junior cross champion Geoffrey Kamworor, Kenneth Kipkemoi and Abraham Cheroben, who will be the quickest men at the event. On the women’s side, runners including two-time world champion and defending champion Florence Kiplagat, the reigning world Half Marathon champion Gladys Cherono, and winner of several medals at the World Championships in different events, Lucy Kabuu will provide thrilling action. A number of medalists in World Half 2014 and World Championships 2013 will also be on the track apart from a cluster of talented rising stars.
Kenya’s Kiplagat is a two-time World Champion having won the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. In 2009, she ran 30.11 in a 10,000m race in the Netherlands, which is still the Kenyan national record. Noteworthy that Florence Kiplagat won her debut marathon in Berlin in 2011 in a time of 2:19:44. She returned to the German capital in 2013 to win again. This year, she shocked the world by smashing the World Record for the Half Marathon by 38 seconds and finished in 1:05:12. She also ran two strong marathons this year, finishing second in London and third in Chicago. Kiplagat won last year’s ADHM in 1:08:00 and is back to challenge it again.
Cherono is the reigning world Half Marathon champion. She won the race this year in 67:28 and left her Kenyan teammates behind. The Kenyan had a breakthrough year in 2012 winning both the 5.000m and 10.000m at the African Championships and ran the 2nd fastest time of the year over 10km road. Last year she won the silver medal at the World Championships in Moscow, finishing behind Tirunesh Dibaba. She also won the TCS World 10K Bangalore, finished second in Delhi last year, and eager to finish on top this year.
Kabuu currently holds the record for running the second fastest Half Marathon in history, 66.09, clocked at the RAK Half Marathon last year. She won her first international championships at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. After a break in 2009 and 2010, Lucy returned to competition and won the Delhi Half Marathon in 2011. In 2013, she returned to Delhi to take third place.
Kenyan Mary Wacera’s first international championship was in the 5000m at the 2006 World Junior Championships where she took the bronze medal. This year, she has already won the World’s Best 10K, beating Cherono, the Bloomsday 12K and the Utica Boilermaker 15K. On the Half Marathon side, she won a silver medal at the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen with a sizzling 67:43 performance.
Among many others athletes who are returning to Delhi, all eyes will be on Kiplagat, Cherono and Kabuu who will look at beating the other and improving last year’s performance at ADHM.
The exciting men’s field includes 14 athletes who have run the Half Marathon just below 61.00 on either track or road and pose a strong challenge to the existing course record. Leading the Men Elite Athletes will be the 21-year-old Cheroben from Kenya, who raced to one of the fastest Half Marathon times in history, clocking 58:48 at the Valencia Half Marathon. Surprisingly, Cheroben is relatively new to the field, started running internationally a few years ago, and made a huge step forward in 2014. In addition to the fastest run, he ran a quick 59:14 in the Berlin Half Marathon this year and produced the fourth fastest time ever run in the 25K in Berlin.
Joining him will be Kamworor, last year’s runner up. The 2014 World Half Marathon Champion and former world junior cross champion ran the fastest Half Marathons of 2013 and 2014. His personal best of 58:54, set in RAK last year, ranked him number one on the IAAF top lists. He also holds the number one position this year after his 59:08 in Copenhagen. Kamwaror will come to India for the fifth time. He won the TCS World 10K in 2012 running under the Kipsang surname, repeating it in 2014, and was runner-up in ADHM 2011 and 2013.
Kamworor will face stiff competition from Stephen Kibet, one of the few athletes with a sub 59:00 (58:54 in 2011) personal best. He was placed fifth at the World Half Marathon Championships in 2012. This fall, Stephen has already run two strong Half Marathons, finishing 2nd in Luanda and 1st in Lisbon.
Another promising name is Jonathan Maiyo, who has impressive personal bests of 59:02 for half and 2:04:56 for the full marathon. After a difficult year in 2013, Maiyo is on his way back after finishing 1st in Zwolle Half Marathon and 2nd in Eindhoven Marathon.
Other top athletes such as debutant Kinde Atanaw, who will be visiting India for the second time after his third place in Bangalore in 2013, and Kenneth Kipkemoi, who finished fourth in Delhi last year will ensure edge of the seat action. Out of 10 Half Marathons Kipkemoi has run four times below the one-hour mark.