Kolkata, Dec 15 : Leonard Barsoton of Kenya and Guteni Shone of Ethiopia rewrote the event records to light up the lazy Sunday morning even as 15,445 running enthusiasts made the World Athletics only Silver Label accredited run at this distance — Tata Steel Kolkata (TSK) 25K — one of the most competitive distance running event across the globe.
Barsoton rewrote the event record with a timing of 1:13:05, a 40 seconds lesser than the record set by Kenenisa Bekele at 1:13:48. Shone breasted the winning tape in the women’s category with a timing of 1:22:09 knocking off over four minutes from the one set by Degetu Azimeraw at 1:26:01.
Leonard said: “It is so special to have broken the record of someone as legendary as Kenenisa Bekele. It makes my win special, even more because till two weeks back I was not sure I would come here.”
Leonard, who plans to come back for Bengaluru 10K, said: “It was a tough race and a tough course. There was close competition till the 20K mark after which I broke free from the pack. I have been training hard this year, leading a disciplined life — sleeping early, rising early and training hard. This year in Valencia I had one of my best timings.”
Guteni was equally excited at breaking the record. The thoroughly drenched and yet excited Ethiopean said: “I am very happy to have won and broken the record here. I have practiced very hard throughout the year and it is yielding results now.
“The temperature was a little hot and since the running was through the city there were many turns and bents making the race tough. Moreover, you did not know what kind of surface to expect next. So you had to keep guessing. All of that made the course challenging and worth the run.”
With the new route the race has become tougher with a flyover in play now along with an average incline sharper than before. The race has moved into the city proper where the runners went through city streets with traffic and general commuters on one side.