New Delhi: Their stamina put to a harsh test in the hot and humid conditions in the capital, participants of the Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday questioned the wisdom behind scheduling the event at this time of the year.
The long distance runners are known to have good stamina but their endurance was tested today as high humidity put paid to the record-setting aspirations of the elite athletes.
The race traditionally takes place during the months of October or November but many of the participants would not be aware of the fact that the IAAF Gold Label status marathon was shifted to late September so that it does not clash with the Formula One Indian Grand Prix slated for October 28.
Elite men`s winner Edwin Kipyego of Kenya, who had set his sights on the course record, failed in his attempt as the weather did not allow him to gun for it.
"I was keeping the pace with the record till the 14-15 km mark after which I felt I was losing all my energy because of hot and humid conditions. I had a good start but the weather got worse and it kept getting hotter," said Kipyego.
The organisers had an early start to the race at 6:30 am than in previous years but that did not help their cause as many of the participants in the Great Delhi Run were seen suffering from dehydration.
Second-placed Leonard Langat, also from Kenya, said, "Till the 15km mark, I tried to keep pace with Kipyego but then due to the weather, I could not push myself. It got hot and humid and I stayed behind the winner."
Another Kenyan, Silas Kipruto also blamed the hot weather for his third-place finish.
"I fell behind in the race because of the humidity."
Elite women`s winner Yemir Wude of Ethiopia said, "It was a good race overall but the conditions were not good to race in as it became hot after the start of the race."
Rahul Kumar Pal, who finished on top among Indian men athletes, said he kept himself motivated despite the hot and humid condition taking its toll on his body.
"I knew that the competition will be tough and weather will be humid. It was very hot but I kept myself motivated."
I`ve always said the person who wins the world championship this year is the person who does the best job on the circuit, but that does not seem the way it is at the moment.