Kenyan Mugara wins Mumbai Marathon

January 18th, 2009 - 8:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Mumbai, Jan.18 (ANI): Kenneth Mugara led a Kenyan sweep in the men’’s event of the Mumbai marathon on Sunday in the city’’s first international sports event since the militant attacks last November.
Almost 35,000 people participated in five separate events in the annual run through the streets of south and central Mumbai, taking them past two of the three landmarks where Islamic gunmen laid siege, killing 179 people.
Many well-known faces from Indian cinema ran for the cause also making a statement.
“As a citizen, if there are bomb blasts in Allahabad then I will go to see the victims, to organise some relief. If something like that happens here, I will be a part of it because I believe that as a citizen if you make a statement, then all citizens are empowered to make the same statement,” said Rahul Bose, Bollywood actor.
Mugara clocked a course record time of 2:11.51 ahead of David Tarus in second and John Kelai, winner of the previous two editions, third.
Mugara expressed his willingness to come back to India next year again.
“I feel great. This is my first time in India, I hope to come next year,” said Kenneth Mugara.
Ethiopia’’s Haile Kebebush won the women’’s race in a time of 2:34.08 with compatriot Marta Marcos second and Kenya’’s Irene Mogaka third.
Thousands of runners, many with messages for peace scrawled on their T-shirts, participated in the annual marathon, its first international sporting event and the biggest public gathering since the attacks in November.
Even before the first light of dawn lit up the CST train station, the starting point and one of the sites attacked by Islamist gunmen, runners posed for pictures against its imposing Gothic facade, their fingers parted in the victory sign.
Raising slogans, the runners, including many foreigners and out-of-towners, surged forward in an annual ritual that this year had a special poignancy.
The event also had tighter security, with metal detectors and scanners, more than 1,500 policemen, about 750 private security personnel and about 1,000 volunteers.
The Mumbai marathon is the third leg of a quartet that includes Nairobi, Singapore and Hong Kong. It concludes in Hong Kong on February 8.
All along the route that also went past Chowpatty beach, where the lone surviving gunman was apprehended after a fierce encounter with police, bands played and residents cheered and held posters hailing the spirit of Mumbai. (ANI)

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