Sunday, 20 January 2008

The Mumbai roads were too busy today cheering the Mumbaikars

and I was watching all of it on TV, because I have no courage to go out there in the midst of the crowd and see just a segment of the race in this warm weather. TV gave me a great view and I watched it over a cup of coffee in the comfort of my home.

And I saw Mumbai Marathon today celebrating its fifth successful year. Mumbai spirit was dynamic and the streets were full of participant and the cheering spectators.

Over 33000 people participated in the marathon and the winners were Kelai of Kenya, who finished in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 22 seconds, followed by Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia in 2:12:28 and Philemon Boit of Kenya in 2:12:35.

Seboka set the record in the women's event in 2:30:03, ahead of Kenyans Irene Kemunto (2:32:51) and Margaret Karie Toroitich (2:33:56).

But the most interesting part of the marathon was the 'Dream Run', a six kilometer run, in which 21000 people participated, everybody for a particular cause. This included NGO’s, social workers, the physically and the mentally challenged. Common people were dressed in fancy clothes that included Gladiators, Sai Satya Baba, Ghandhiji, etc. There were scores of runners who had come ‘dressed’ as Symonds, with white paint liberally daubed on their lips, fake dreadlocks, and even a cricket bat.

Many of them carried banners with loud social message of public awareness toward global warming, care for the aged, care for the under privileged and many other organizations. There were band players, performers, dancers and cheer leaders.

“Who need to be normal as long as they all can contribute to the society” said one of the participants as she talked to the TV anchor

The crowd was dynamic and the spirit of participation was truly great…and the messages on TV during the break were clear and loud.

“It is not about stamina, it is not about speed, it is only about the spirit. Everybody is the winner and that is certainty"

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The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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