Mumbai cuts a fine dash for a cause

Written By Unknown on Senin, 21 Januari 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Cheering crowds were fewer, the colours and drama on the sidelines a little subdued. But where the 10th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon equalled its earlier outings was in the vim, passion and zest of the more than 38,000 participants.

Streams of marathoners, professionals and amateurs, surged through the course and towards the finish line, braving the vagaries of weather. The ask of the undertaking took a toll on some runners, yet the determination of the participants in general never flagged.

In the end, records were broken, causes supported and the spirit of the annual event upheld on Sunday. The marathon's charity partner, Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care, declared it was certain of raising an amount for charity that would beat all previous records.

"It is always a wonderful experience to run the marathon in Mumbai, especially since I have been associated with it since its inception," said actor Milind Soman, who ran the Half Marathon on Sunday after four years of Full Marathon. For various categories of races, slogans provided an accompanying beat. Causes such as education, health and environment received most prominence, but a safer city for women too was a big appeal. In the Senior Citizen's Run, a host of enthusiastic participants exhibited a simple motto -'I'll not count the years, I'll make the years count'. While some runners held placards giving information about easy investment schemes and health policies, most were there for the fun of running. A major draw in the category was marathon veteran and the oldest participant in the event, 102-year-old Fauja Singh. The centenarian was called on by scores for health tips.

"Though I have a foot problem due to old age, I love to dance. I participate in the marathon every year to show people that one should never let their spirit down," said 70-year-old Leena Lolkar. Taking a pause from their duty, about 140 personnel from various branches of the Mumbai police participated in SCMM 2013. "I practised thoroughly and decided to run the Half Marathon like every year," said 59-year-old Sanjay Jaiswal, who retired from the crime branch less than two months ago and finished the feat on Sunday in less than three hours. "Completing a marathon always gives me joy and a high."

Most participants were happy with the arrangements, though the icing on the cake for them was the specially designed medal for the participants of Half and Full Marathons.

The spirit of the event helped runners withstand the fickleness of the weather. While it was nippy early on Sunday, a harsh sun beat down on runners by 10am, causing some discomfort. Rikke Alber, who finished the Full Marathon in 4 hours and 28 minutes, found the mercury too high for her. "I come from Denmark. Compared to the climate there, the heat here nearly killed me during the run. Still, the good organization made the run a lot of fun."

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