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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Mumbai Marathon 2009

Today there was a biggest street party in Mumbai in which more than 35000 people took part and many more came to watch. John Abhraham was the brand ambassador of this party and he had Indian flag slung across his shoulders. The race started at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and ended at the same venue after the athletes touched another site of the terror strike - the Trident Hotel - on their way. While the 21-km Half Marathon began at 7.15 a.m., huge crowds joined the full 42-km main marathon of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which started half an hour later. I watched the race on TV and was cheering them from my couch. The interesting part of the marathon was the dream run. Thousand of people in fancy dress were seen participating in this dream run. The spirit was that of a party with people whistling, shouting and waving at the camera as they jaywalked in groups. They were all running for a cause and 127 charities would benefit from this race. This year’s theme was peace and unity and this was the first major event after 26/11. Members of one group were dressed in mythological costume and they said that they have come from heaven to save the world and fight terrorism. There was another group of half naked people who were running for under privileged people. They said that they had worked hard, exercising and building their body for this event and proudly showed off their muscles to bring home their point. Another youth of 18 years old had painted his body and said that he was inspired by film Ghajini. There were many well know personalities who were seen giving interviews from their podium and cheering the participants. such as the Bollywood stars, the socialites, the businessmen, sport stars, politicians — yes, the citizens of all ages who put aside all their problems, the policemen, para-medic staff, the volunteers who come out to make this event a success. There was prize money of Rs30000 for best dressed group in the fancy dress competition. The Chief Minister described this enthusiasm as Mumbai’s dynamism. “Mumbai has what it takes to be like any great city of the world, not just Shanghai, the culture of this city is different, the people love life, they work hard, they wish to see the city grow globally and be among the best... and why not, we have what it takes, we have a vibrancy, an energy, so who wants Mumbai to grow just into a concrete jungle, why should we not bring in change through events like this that bring us together?” The marathon race was not about stamina, nor about the spirit. It was about the spirit of Mumbai that I saw it alive on these streets from my little bright TV window

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