Gurugram, Nov 29 : Jitender Yadav, a 23-year-old physical education student from Nangloi in Delhi, will eye a hat-trick of victories in the fifth Apollo Tyres Millennium City Marathon at Sikanderpur and Golf Course Road underpasses, here on Sunday.
Yadav, who uses the prize money won in events to finance his scholastic pursuit, says he has been inspired by India's top marathoner T Gopi and women's national record holder OP Jaisha. Anju Chaudhari, who drew accolades by winning the 10 km Speed Challenge in 2017 to secure a podium finish in half marathon last year, is set to keep the hearts racing, again.
Nearly 2500 runners - a 26 per cent increase from last year - will take part in the marathon, half-marathon and 10 km Speed Challenge, while several thousand will take part in the Joy of Running (five km) event. The races will be flagged off from Cyber Hub, taking the marathon and half marathon runners to Sector 54, before winding back to the Sector 42-43 Metro Station for the U-turn.
''We are delighted that the route has been certified by the Association of International Marathons & Distance Races (AIMS) and the event is one of the handful recognised by the Athletics Federation of India,'' said Race Director Abhishek Mishra, who is also the founder of Tabono Sports & Events Pvt Ltd, which organises the annual running event in Gurugram.
''The increasing participation by women runners is fair reflection of the growing popularity of the event. From mere five women runners in the marathon and half-marathon two years ago, we saw the numbers rise to 11 and 20, last year. ''This time, we have 25 women running the marathon and nearly 120 women in the half marathon,'' he added.
Yadav finished third in 2:44:04 on MCM debut in 2016, he won the next two editions run with several slopes to negotiate in 2:45:27 by a good eight minutes from his nearest rival and in 2:50:57, by a reduced margin of just over two minutes.
''Since running on the inclines increases the load on the body, I am careful there,'' Jitender said.
''I want to win competitive races. There is so much more satisfaction in winning close battles,'' he added, acknowledging the support he receives from his benefactor, Kanika. (UNI)