Chhagan Bombale from Hingoli district in Maharashtra made a triumphant return to the metropolis by winning the 7th edition of the Ageas Federal Life Insurance Mumbai Half Marathon men’s event for the second year in succession.
The 22-year-old third year BA student completed the 21 km distance in a time of 1:12.14, an improvement of over four minutes over his winning effort in the 2022 edition.
The women’s half marathon (21.1k) was comfortably won by 25-year-old Bharti from Sonepat, Haryana, who breasted the tape in a creditable 1:19.19 after taking the lead at the halfway stage. Finishing nearly two minutes behind was Prajakta Godbole in 1:21.08 while Prajakta Shinde trooped in third in 1:21.27.
Bombale, who was running well within himself in the initial stages, surged forward at the 10 km mark and built up a comfortable lead over the chasing pack. Dheeraj Yadav strove hard to bridge the gap but had to be content with the second position, finishing less than half a minute behind the winner in 1:12.41. Anant Gaonkar completed the podium line-up in third place in 1:14.03.
“I’m very happy to come back and win again for the second time. The organisation was good and the conditions were ideal,” said an elated Bombale after collecting his trophy and winner’s cheque from event brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar.
Organised by NEB Sports, the half marathon (21.1k), the timed 10k and the 5k fun run races, which started and ended at the Jio Gardens in the Bandra Kurla Complex, were run under cloudy skies, marked by a brief drizzle. Over 20,000 runners - both serious and amateur – enthusiastically participated across the 3 race categories.
In the men’s 10 km, Bhavishya Kaushik clinched the top honours with a decent time of 31.11 mins. Akshay Kumar took the silver in 32.10 mins and Atul Barde the bronze in 32.33 mins. The women’s 10 km was won by Sonali Desai in 39.56 mins while Sakshi Bhandari breezed in second in 42.20 mins and Padma Karande third in 42.57 mins.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, event brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar extolled the “passion” witnessed among the participants today. “This is the seventh edition and I remember seven years ago, we had about 3,000 odd participants. But today I can proudly say we’ve grown seven times with over 20,000 runners taking part. It is a matter of great happiness and a reflection of how we as a country are thinking, taking our health seriously, and it is a positive step towards what we want to achieve for our nation, a young and healthy nation,” Tendulkar enthused.
The Master Blaster extolled the “women’s power” that was evident today with about 25 per cent of the participants being female, while also complementing the Indian Navy for sending 2,000 plus entries as well as the paralympic athletes and visually impaired runners who took part.
Tendulkar also had a special word of praise for Vighnesh Shahane, MD & CEO of Ageas Federal Life Insurance and his team, adding that “without teamwork, it is not possible to pull off such things”.
Vignesh Shahane, while agreeing with Tendulkar that the event had “exponentially grown” since its launch seven years ago, said the rising participation in the Ageas Federal marathons is a testament to the fitness movement that has now taken hold of the country. This year’s race theme, ‘Run Ageless, Run Fearless’ was chosen to inspire participants to shed their inhibitions about their age and ability, and fire them up to run and give it their best shot.
Half marathon (21.1k): 1. Chhagan Bombale 1:12.14 2. Dheeraj Yadav 1:12.41 3. Anant Gaonkar 1:14.03.
10 km: 1. Bhavishya Kaushik 31.11 2. Akshay Kumar 32.10 3. Atul Barde 32.33.
Half marathon (21.1k): 1. Bharti 1:19.19 2. Prajakta Godbole 1:21.08 3. Prajakta Shinde 1:21.27.
10 km: 1. Sonali Desai 39.56 mins 2. Sakshi Bhandari 42.20 3. Padma Karande 42.57.