3,250 participants brave the rains, run for a fitter MumbaiAugust 24, 2017
After three months of training, Simta Sharma, 27, flew down from Tohana in Haryana to Mumbai on Saturday with one aim – to win the Monsoon Marathon Challenge 2017. Even as light rain slowed down most runners, Sharma finished first in the 10-kilometre category, clocking in at less than 45 minutes.
“It is challenging to run in Mumbai as the moisture and humidity slows down marathon runners. So, if you can test your abilities here and win, it boosts your confidence and makes you believe you can run anywhere in the world,” she said.
Like her, 3,250 participants braved the rains and participated in the Hindustan Times Monsoon Marathon Challenge organised by Run India Run on Sunday morning. Jio Garden, Bandra Kurla Complex, was where the marathon began and ended, making it a full circle for runners.
The race had three categories – 5km (13 stops from Jio Garden via National Stock Exchange, MMRDA Ground and back to Jio Garden), 10km (21 stops from Jio Garden via Income Tax office, Godrej BKC and back) and 21km (28 stops from Jio Garden spreading out to North Avenue on one end and BKC bridge on the other) – with an age group ranging from 10 to 70
The categories were further divided into separate age groups. “There were three age categories (18 to 34, 35 to 44 and 45 and older) in 10km and 21km races. Four age groups (10 to 17, 18 to 34, 35 to 44 and 45 and older) participated in the 5km race,” said Ashish Panjwani, chief executive officer, Run India Run.
While the 10km and 21km races were flagged off at 6am, the 5km one started at 6.20am. As many as 2,300 people participated in the 10km category. The 21km run saw 500 participants and 450 people took part in the 5km run.
“The rain gods were kind to us. It seems as though they wanted a fitter Mumbai too,” said Panjwani. “The rains stopped just as the marathon begun. Sporadic light showers hardly affected the pace of funners. The crowd was supportive and participants helped each other,” he said.
Runners matched their pace to the beat of dhols, drums and music cheering them on from the sidelines. All races were completed by 9am.
Kandivli resident Kiranpal Singh Dhody, 62, finished the 10km run in 51 minutes. “I am preparing for upcoming marathons in China and the USA. What better place to practice than at home?” he asked.
A handicapped runner finished the 5-km race in 40 minutes. “I had hoped that more handicapped runners would be here. The traffic was well -managed and the rain did not pose any problems,” said the runner, who did not wish to be identified.
A citizens’ group even ran in support of a campaign to save and rejuvenate rivers in India. “We wanted to highlight the causes of water pollution and spread awareness about the need to plant trees along river banks,” said Chandan Kumar, from the group Rally for Rivers.
Medical staff on standby for all three races said no serious injuries were reported. “We were worried that if it rained heavily, people would slip. Luckily, there were only light drizzles. There were cases of dehydration, minor injuries, but the races finished smoothly,” said a doctor in-charge of the medical staff.