When you see press photographers getting into a rugby-like scrum at the Trident hotel Nariman Point, and beefy actor John Abraham getting ready to face those flashbulbs, you know that the Mumbai Marathon is close. The curtains went up on the 13th edition of the Mumbai marathon to be run on January 17, in the city.
John Abraham during the launch of the Mumbai Marathon at a Nariman Point hotel yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
A formal launch was held yesterday at the Trident, where the 'face' of the event, John Abraham spoke about how "honoured" he was to continue what probably was his longest association with any brand or event.
Vivek Singh, director, Procam International, event organisers termed the occasion, "iconic, amazing and watershed."
Yet, when it comes to a sporting event, it is all about figures and numbers.
There are a total of 40, 285 runners in different categories. The full marathon has 5,000 runners and the half-marathon has 14,431 runners. Cumulatively, the full and half events outnumber the dream run entries of 18,934, which proves that the city is becoming very serious about the event.
The half-marathon has a new route this time. The increasingly popular 21-km event begins at the Worli Dairy (Worli Seaface), the runners go to the Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL) and come back via the Sea Link avoiding the Worli loop.
That's the big tweak this year, with Singh saying, "We wanted to make things smoother, for the half-marathon course, which will end as usual at the CST."
Course record holders, Jackson Kiprop and Valentine Kipketer are in the field. Top Indian runners include the Olympic trio of OP Jaisha, Sudha Singh and Lalita Babar.
For the big ticket watchers, it is US Olympic legend Edwin Moses, who will be international brand ambassador for the event. The former 400m hurdles champion is one more in a glittering array of international athletes, who have been down to the city during the event.