Bharati finishes 21st in Berlin Marathon with national record

Kathmandu, September 24:

Athlete Nirmala Bharati set the new national record in women’s marathon when she finished the Berlin Marathon with the timing of 2:58:39 on Sunday. Gete Wami of Ethiopia won the race in 2:21:34, followed by Salina Kosgei of Kenya (2:23:22) and Monica Drybulski of Poland (2.30.12).

Bharati — who finished overall 21st and eighth in her age-group (below 30-year) — broke the record of 3:04:58 set by Kanchi Maya Koju in Hong Kong on February 4, 2001.

Bharati, basically a mid-distance runner, made her debut in the long distance after competing in the half marathon in Berlin last year where she finished overall sixth and first in the age-group. The Nepal Police athlete also holds the national records in 5,000m (37:48.9) and half marathon (1:18:46).

On Sunday, Bharati ran the first 5-km in 19 minutes, 44 seconds. She maintained her pace in the next 10 kilometres finishing the 15-km mark in 59 minutes, 27 seconds. Bharati completed the halfway mark in 1:24:02 — which was about six minutes more than her half marathon record set last year.

Long and mid-distance coach Sushil Narsingh Rana, who was largely responsible to groom her talent, was satisfied with the result. “She set a target for the future generation by her performance,” Rana said. “The result is an encouraging for others as well.”

Meanwhile, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 2:05:56, one minute slower than the world record set by Paul Tergat of Kenya in 2003 on the same flat course. Shentema Kudama of Ethiopia came second in 2:10:43, with Kurao Umeki of Japan third in 2:13:43.