Mumbai: Defending men's champion Laban Moiben of Kenya, last year's runner-up Raji Assefa of Ethiopia and third-placed John Kyui of Kenya have all confirmed to run in the USD 3,50,000 prize money 10th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to be held on January 20.
     
The African trio is among the top 10 male entrants who all have clocked better times than the course record of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 54 seconds set by Ethiopian winner Girma Assefa in 2011, according to race promoters Procam International.
     
The two-year-old course mark is under serious threat of being obliterated in the race in which a total of 40 elite athletes will take part with five pace-makers being pressed into action to egg them on.
     
Giving a fillip to their efforts will be course record bonus of USD 15,000, being offered for the first time by the race promoters. The men's and women's winners would take home USD 40,000 each, the marathon organisers said in a release.
    
Last year, Moiben and Assefa were locked in a close tussle for first spot and were both clocked at 2:10.48, with the Kenyan going ahead of the Ethiopian by a fraction of a second.
    
This time, though, it's Assefa who comes with the huge reputation of being the fastest athlete in the field, having clocked 2:06.24 while winning the 2012 Paris Marathon.
     
Moiben, too, has had a good run in the year gone by, defending his title in the Ottawa Marathon with a personal best time of 2:09.13.
    
Also making a historic return to Mumbai would be South African Hendrick Ramaala, the winner of the inaugural event in 2004.
     
After the Mumbai victory, Ramaala went on to win the New York Marathon and emerged as one of the top marathoners in the world. Ramaala, still running competitively at the age of 40, clocked 2:12 in 2012 Dubai Marathon.

(Agencies)

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