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The Magic of the Mumbai Marathon !

 I ‘ran’ the Dream Run this morning at the Mumbai Marathon from the comforts of home…..What a spectacular uniting Force !

Thankfully it was sponsored,for the sixth year straight and since inception, by a credible ‘S’ ,Standard Chartered Bank and not the likes of ‘Satyam !’…In fact Standard Chartered has signed up as sponsor for the next three years too till the 2012 Race….Tremendous Value Mileage for them

31000 participants across all the runs in this sixth edition….with the Popular Dream Run itself having 21000 participants

The Marathon has always been heart warming,but more so this year,as the memories of the 26/11 Terrorist Attack on South Mumbai are yet very vivid…..What 60 years of Independent India and politicians and Leaders could not bring about in India,these Nine Terrorists in just 60 hours united our Nation like never before !

It was one big Street Party in South Mumbai…as key activity areas of Fountain,CST Station and  Marine Drive were closed to vehicular traffic from before sunrise today……There were lakhs of people swarming these areas and it was a spectacular and colourful sight….From Young Children to Senior Citizens,on their own or for a cause, took part in the Dream Run…If you recall,that CST Station was one of the key locations of the 26/11 Terror Strikes…It has always been the ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ Point for the Marathon 

My daughter (in red shorts in first photo and sitting second from right in the second) ‘ran’ the Dream Run of 6 km to 7 km with the PIFA …..a Football Academy and a Dynamic Enterprise run by Dynamic Anjali and Nirvan Shah, whose Goal is to Have India qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 !…These kids have exceptional Energy levels….It’s been a hectic weekend for my daughter…Yesterday,she was away the whole day, competing at the State Gymnastics Tournament at the Andheri Sports Complex in Suburban Mumbai from 7 am till 8.30 pm……then joined around 40 of us at 9.30 pm till past midnight for a Victory Football Dinner for the Runner-Up Maharashtra State Girls u-14 Football Team at the Chennai Nationals,of which she was a Goalkeeper Member…Now after the Dream Run,she’s off this evening,to participate in a Gymnastics Demo at a Cricket Function at the Police Gymkhana on the Marine Drive Sea face…Phew ! Sitting at Home,I’m tired for her !  

The Actual Marathon of 26 miles from CST Station to Bandra Reclamation and back was won in record time for this course of 2h 11 min 51 sec by Kenyan ,Kenneth Mungara…He won the Toronto and Prague Marathons last year……In fact the first three positions were swept by the Kenyans,with John Kelai coming in third and failing to make it a hatrick of consequent victories…In fact Kenyans dominated this race as reflected in Eight Kenyans in the First Ten Finishers…Two Ethopians make up the rest of the Top 10

Haile Kebebush of Ethopia won the Women’s Marathon in a time of 2h 34m 08s…She was a runner-up in Dublin last year and has won the 2006 Helsinki and Barcelona Marathons

Both,Kenneth and Haile were awarded US $ 31000 each…that’s equality for you ! The Mumbai Marathon is the richest race in South Asia with Total Prize Money of US $ 250000

It was truly inspiring to see US Athlete,Gail Devers enjoying and soaking in the atmosphere of the Mumbai Marathon and felicitating the Winners…In just three days she fell in love with Mumbai and wants to return……Despite being diagnosed with Graves Syndrome,she went on to win three Olympic Golds

Indians had a lot to cheer as Ram Singh Yadav, completed a hatrick of wins by being the Eleventh but the first Indian to cross the line in 2 h 18 m 03 s…last year though he was the first Indian to cross the line he failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics by just three seconds when he timed 2h 23 m +…This year he was challenged well by Deep Chand

Amusingly for us, but embarrasing and awkward for the organisers,there was a goof up when they felicitated a wrong Woman on the podium as the Winner of the Marathon in the Indian Womens Category.This woman basked in wrong glory till the real winner,Aruna Devi,of Manipur came forward to stake her claim…A ‘Wrong’ was then made ‘Right’ and Devi took it sportingly as organisers apologised without making any excuses !

Media was delightfully all over with their reporters covering all people across strata….ofcourse with more focus,as is usual and to be expected,on political,corporate,film and sports personalities for sound bytes…Caught the ‘9999’ bib number of the regular participant,Industrialist Anil Ambani….learnt later this is the permanent number given to him !….he was  a regular sight training in the wee hours with his SUV and Body Guards following him running ,when I car pooled the school girls for their 6 am football training sessions 

Ofcourse,like for Events of this Scale,some controversy has to exist !…This Year Suburb Mumbai raised issues through municipal corporators in the local municipal body,BMC….BMC has been accused of diverting Infrastructure Funds for Elite South Mumbai under the excuse of hosting the Mumbai Marathon,which is restricted to South and West Mumbai routes….Suburban Mumbai is planning to host a ‘Monsoon Marathon’ on the Bandra to Kurla suburban route……This ‘North’ and ‘South’ Mumbai Divide continues !…..”Arre ! Yaar!…just  have a look at the swarm of people in the Marathon…both participants and spectators…they come from all over and across strata….Where’s the ‘North’ and ‘South’ Divide evident !?…or is it just the physical route excuse to creat this mindset divide !?  

I’ve decided…I’m going to get real fit to atleast ‘walk’ the Dream Run in the 2010 Mumbai Marathon !…I had decided this last year too for today’s run !


1 thought on “The Magic of the Mumbai Marathon !”

  1. Hi Gaurav,
    Congratulations to your daughter, and to everyone in the Marathon. Nice feeling to know that many are becoming more patriotic and also fitness conscious-all this adds to the brand value of India and makes me feel optimistic about Project India.

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