Record entry for Mawana Sugars Indian Open Marathon

New Delhi: The 23rd edition of the Mawana Sugars Indian Open Marathon has logged a record entry field of almost 9,000 runners for the race, to be held on Sunday.

The number of registered runners far exceeded the 6,000 plus achieved last year.

The Indian Open marathon is the only event to be run through some of the most scenic parts of the Central capital, including the Rajpath, Parliament Street and the Raisina Road before it winds its way back to the India Gate for the finish.

The race will be run in a loop measuring 10.5 kilometres, which will run four times for the full marathon and twice for the half-marathon.

The favourite Binning Lyngkhoi, the 2008 champion, and Elam Singh of Indian Army have already arrived in he capital to get acclimatised to the conditions, which are reckoned to be perfect.

"Binning is among the favourites and there will be a host of runners from Army, which has once again sent a big contingent," said Siddharth Shriram, chairman, Mawana Sugars Limited.

Binning and Elam will be challenged hard by Ranjit Singh, PS Meena, Shamsher Antil and Pritam Singh.

The women`s defending champion, Shastri Devi, is also here.

Both sections have on offer Rs. 2.5 lakhs each, with both getting an identical same winner`s cheque. Other leading women runners will be M Sudha, Waheeda and Suryakamal.

Asha Aggarwal and V Satyabhama, two marathon stars of the yesteryears, but still very fit, will be running in the Veterans section.

The Mawana Sugars Indian Open Marathon is open only to Indian nationals and also serves as one of the qualification races for the selection of athletes for the London Olympics Marathon. The men`s `A` qualification for men is 2:15 and 2:18 is the `B` standard and for women the standards are 2:38 for `A` and 2:43 for women.