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31st January 2005, 19:44
LAHORE: Tseko Mpolokeng of South Africa shocked favourites Kenyan and Ethiopian runners when he won the 42-kilometre Lahore Marathon 2005 here on Sunday. The $100,000 event, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, was Pakistan’s first-ever international marathon. Besides local runners, the marathon attracted leading athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Russia, Portugal, Sweden, Ukraine, Portugal, Denmark, Britain, Zimbabwe, Bulgaria, India and South Korea. It started and terminated at the Gaddafi Stadium. In all 15,000 people participated in the marathon which also included 10-kilometre and 6-kilometre events.

The 28-year-old clocked two hours, 16 minutes and 57 seconds to clinch the first prize of $10,000. “This is a great win and I dedicate the win to my country and its people,” he said. Kenyan David Menyo made a brave challenge until the last kilometre to finish in two hours, 17 minutes and 11 seconds and pocket the second prize of $7,500. Tanzanian Jermaine Boki finished third in two hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds to earn $5000.

The 42-kilometre women’s marathon was won by Kenyan Jane Kariuki in two hours, 43 minutes and 03 seconds to take the first prize of $10,000 after a close finish which saw three Kenyans and an Ethiopian in hot pursuit. Ethiopian Tadelech Birra finished second in two hours, 43 minutes and 45 seconds and Kenyan Naomi Wangui finished third in two hours, 43 minutes and 56 seconds.

Local runners: Mohammad Aslam was the best local runner, finishing in two hours, 43 minutes and 39 seconds for a special prize of $2000. Waris Masih was second with timing of 2 hours, 46 minutes and 5 seconds and Nazir Ahmad Faooqi was third by clocking 2 hours, 52 minutes and 17 seconds. Both local runners received $1500 and $1000 respectively. Pakistani women athletes Shazia Hadayat and Saadia Parveen were presented with special cash prizes of $2000 and $1500 respectively for participating in the main marathon.

10-kilometre event: Ethiopian Shiferahnu Tewodros won the 10-kilometer race in 28:27:00 minutes. John Murithi and Wifred Taragon of Kenya claimed second and third positions respectively. Kenyan Catherine Mutwa won the women’s section in 34:07:00 minutes. While Alem Bezabih of Kenya and Toni Macintosh of Scotland were second and third.

Oldest runner gets special prize of $5000: The Indian competitors included veterans Ashish Roy and Fauja Singh. Roy, 72, has run more than 90 marathons while Fauja, 93, is based in England and is still a regular runner at international level. Fauja was awarded a special prize of $5,000 for improving his personal best in the 10-km race. Fauja thanked Chief Minister Punjab Ch Pervaiz Elahi for his kind gesture and donated it to a local charity.

“It’s a historic event and we never thought in our wildest dreams that so many people would come. Seeing the overwhelming response this race will now be an annual feature,” said Ghouse Akbar, chairman of the organising committee.

People took the 6-kilometre race as a fun and over ten thousand runners of all age groups featured in it. Pakistan Army runners established their supremacy in the competition in which no foreign athlete took part. Hamid ur Rehman won it with timing of 20 minutes and 53 seconds and behind him were Ashiq Hussain and Faiz Akbar. WAPDA’s Gulnaz Ara won the women’s event of the race with timing of 25 minutes and 37 seconds. Pakistan Steels Bushara Parveen and WAPDA’s Nadia Nazir were second and third respectively.