Three years ago, E.J. Joseph took up distance running at 45 to reduce weight and now he is aiming to do some of the world’s top marathons. Joseph, from Mananthavady in Wayanad, won the Ageas Federal Life Insurance Kochi Spice Coast Marathon’s open title comfortably here on Sunday with a time that could help him run next year’s Boston Marathon.
“There was no competition at all, after about 3km I was in the lead. But after 35km, I could not maintain the speed. Otherwise, I could have finished in something like 2:42s,” Joseph, who clocked 3:00.55s, told The Hindu at the Marine Drive ground here.
“I have qualified for Boston, I hope to do the 50-plus category but I should try for something like 2:30.”
Incidentally, Joseph is an ultra marathoner and had won the above-45 age category titles in Rishikesh and at Lonavala. “I took to ultra marathon as there was good money, I got Rs 75,000 for winning the Tata Ultra. This is my first 42km marathon.”
C.B. Benson, a singer and dancer from Fort Kochi who to took to distance running for a healthier lifestyle, finished second.
S. Gowri, a former cyclist and a member of Soles of Cochin which organised the marathon here, produced an upset of sorts to win the women’s title. The Kochi runner beat Maharashtra’s Trupti Katkar Chavan, the only woman to finish last year’s tough ‘Hell Race’ 161-km Border run from Jaisalmer to Laungewala.
Cricket great Sachin Tendulkar flagged off the marathon, which attracted over 4000 runners, and stood for a photo with the winners.
Marathon (open): Men: 1. E.J. Joseph (3:00.55s), 2. C.B. Benson (3:04.18), 3. R. Shinu (3:12.59); Women: 1. S. Gowri (4:31.21s), 2. Trupti Katkar Chavan (4:44.11), 3. Mary Joshy (4:51.25).
Half marathon (open): Men: 1. K.M. Sajith (1:21.11s), 2. Martin Robin (1:25.58), 3. P. Mohammed Vasil (1:34.58); Women: 1. Minna Likhin (2:00.54s), 2. N.S. Asha (2:01.00), 3. Susha Suresh (2:03.09).