Mumbai Marathon: A carnival on the streets of Bollywood country (Roundup)

January 15th, 2012 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Mumbai, Jan 15 (IANS) It was like a huge party on the streets. From Bollywood personalities, top business honchos, people on wheelchairs and even Subhas Chandra Bose and Manmohan Singh lookalikes - thousands swarmed the streets of Mumbai Sunday to participate in the ninth edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012.

The Mumbai Marathon brought together nearly 39,000 people from all over the world.

For the record, Kenya’s Laban Moiben the men’s 42 km full marathon in a photo finish while Ethiopia’s Netsanet Abeyo emerged on top in the women’s category.

Moiben and Ethiopia’s Raji Assefa both finished in 2:10.48 but the former was declared the winner. Kenyan John Kyui was third in 2:10.54.

India’s Ram Singh Yadav clocked 2:16.59 to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, a first for any Indian athlete. He was followed by Alam Singh (2:18.27) and T. A. Rajesh (2:24.25).

For a city that does not boast of a great running culture, thousands thronged the starting points of the race as early as 5.15 a.m. to kick start the event.

The traffic police ensured little inconvenience to those who were not a part of the marathon, listing certain road diversions to facilitate the event.

While some roads were be closed for vehicular traffic from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., traffic on others was diverted. Emergency utility vehicles were, however, allowed access to even restricted roads.

Star participants like model and actor Milind Soman who runs the full marathon every year and business tycoon Anil Ambani, who participated in the half marathon this year were seen in full energy as they started off at the coveted run.

“It gives me great pleasure to participate in the Mumbai marathon every year,” Soman said before he began his run.

Also participating in the run this year was Siddharth Mallya, socialite and son of businessman Vijay Mallya, actors Anil Kapoor, Gulshan Grover, Rahul Bose, Ranbir Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Perizaad Zorabian, Gul Panag, Neha Dhupia Tara Sharma, singer Shaan and hordes of television actors like Rohit Roy, Ronit Roy and others.

Ever since the first chapter of the race in 2004, the marathon has burgeoned into an event that epitomises what is popularly referred to as the spirit of Mumbai.

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link proved to be a major attraction for most runners.

Two participants, however, collapsed while running on the route due to fatigue. They were immediately given first aid and moved to a hospital where they were stable under medical care.

Bollywood actor John Abraham and former tennis player Vijay Amritraj were also present as the two event ambassadors cheering the marathoners.

The Wheelchair and Senior Citizens’ Run won everybody’s admiration for the sheer will and enthusiasm of those participating in the wheelchair.

Bollywood actors like Anil Kapoor and Gulshan Grover also cheered to support the senior citizens during the marathon where about 1,800 people participated. Tina Ambani, (wife of business tycoon Anil Ambani) who promotes the cause of better lifestyle for senior citizens through her magazine Harmony, also cheered for all senior citizens.

A group of 25 differently-abled students of the School for the Education of the Crippled (SEC) caught attention of many as their participated in the Wheelchair Event despite various physical disabilities including cerebral palsy and congenital defects.

Aged between 12 and 15 years, the students were accompanied by alumni and staff members at the race to raise awareness about the treatment of the physically challenged in the city.

Also attracting attention were those dressed as personalities who have often grabbed public attention including Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhas Chandra Bose, Manmohan Singh and even Osama bin Laden.

The event is now considered among the top marathons in the world having got a national status. Befittingly the total prize money was also increased to $340,000, an increase of $15,000 over what was on offer last year.

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