Kochi, Dec 2 (IANS) Keralas John Paul staved off a stiff challenge from a strong field of runners to clinch the gold medal at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Spice Coast Marathon 2019 here.
John proved to be unstoppable on the day and despite humid conditions and the relentless challenge from the others in the fray including the defending champion Mahesh P S, he finished the full marathon (42.2 k) in just 03:07:05 hours, almost seven minutes ahead of the second placed Ayub.
In the women's category, it was Shino Mol, who cornered the top prize after she clocked a time of 05:11:18 hours to complete the full marathon late on Sunday evening.
Over 7000 runners lined up for the start in the morning, in three different categories including the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and the Fun Run, despite a heavy downpour for much of the previous night. Brand Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar flagged-off the marathon from Willingdon Island and honoured the winners too later in the day.
While the men's contest turned out to be a one sided affair, it was the women's division which lit up the track with their fierce running. Shino was under pressure from Marla Hall throughout the run and it was only during the last few kilometres that she broke out and managed to hold on to her slender lead and finish just a minute ahead of Hall.
Aryav Pillai clocked 05:14:17 hours to win the bronze medal.
In the 21.1k Half Marathon, M.P Nabeel Sahi pocketed the top prize in the men's category by clocking 01:19:57 hours. He was followed by Avinesh Kumar (01:23:05 hours) and M.P Aswin (01:26:30 hours).
In the women's category, Merina Mathew stole the limelight to win the gold by posting a timing of 1:51:08 hours, trailed by Marta Ceconni (01:56:25 hours) & Josmy Joseph (02:02:09 hours).