Kenyans rule Darjeeling Hill Marathon
Darjeeling: The Kenyans ruled the Darjeeling Hill Marathon, clocking the best timings both among the male and females. The 6th edition of the marathon saw an overwhelming response with more than 3000 participants running the races.
The marathon had its share of star personalities. While the golden girl of Indian gymnastics, Olympian Dipa Karmakar was the face of the marathon, well-known mountaineer, philanthropist and writer Peter Edmund Hillary made a sudden appearance at the event. Braving the morning winter chill, thousands arrived at the Chowrasta. "The turnout of the students is a very positive indicator for the future of sports and games of this country. They should set a target, focus, practice and achieve their goals," Karmakar said. Peter Edmund Hillary said: "Such events are good for the community and the place. I have a great attachment with Darjeeling and visit nearly every year. It is good to see that a marathon of such standard in being hosted by Darjeeling."
There were two competitive marathons of 21 km and 10 km along with two 4 km runs — "Run for education" and "Run for clean and green Darjeeling." The marathon was organised by Darjeeling Police jointly with Sports Development Federation. "This initiative will definitely help promote Darjeeling as a major tourist destination," said West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb. "This was my first Indian marathon," said Nicodemus Kiprugut. He completed the 21 km in 1 hour 9 minutes and 18 seconds, the best timing among the males. Caren Jebet Maiyo completed the 21km in 1 hour 23 minutes 38 seconds, the best timing among the female runners. "The route in Darjeeling is excellent. Owing to the gradient if local runners practice very hard they will definitely excel in marathons held anywhere in the globe," said Noah Kipsang Kemei, the 30-year-old Kenyan, who was the second runner up among the males, completing the 21 km in 1hour 12 minutes and 16 seconds. There were runners from different parts of the country.
"I'm 91 percent handicapped. I have run 24 marathons in Kolkata. This is my first Hill marathon," stated Uday Kumar from Kolkata.
Water, energy and medical stations had been set up all along the route.
"Over the years Darjeeling marathon has emerged as a national event. Many national and international runners are taking part here. We will further try to raise the bar in the next edition," said Amarnath K, Darjeeling Superintendent of Police.
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