mid-day editorial: Get into the spirit of the race

With the clock ticking for the 13th edition of the Mumbai marathon, it is time for the city to get into the spirit of the race. What makes running in Mumbai different from other cities in India, is the gusto of the people lining the route.

Runners who come in to race from other cities and overseas too, have often spoken about one of the best things about the Mumbai marathon — the charged atmosphere and the fillip they get from bystanders.

There is nothing more encouraging for legs like lead and lungs on fire than spectators’ cheers. The shouting gives new strength to limbs that are not even finding the ground any more, so tired are they, it makes runners dig deep into their mental reserves for something special, when you know there is nothing left in the tank.

The fastest marathoners in the world are on our roads today and it is a feast for the eyes, to see them careening around the corners at breakneck speed and yet with sublime grace as they break the tape, in those astounding times on one of the most challenging courses in the world. People must keep their cars away from the main roads, giving runners a clear run of way till 12 pm at least. It is disrespectful to start driving within six hours or before mid-day on marathon routes, if you have no emergency. Let us show consideration for runners trying to finish the race and salute the spirit of everyone on the course. Mumbai is a city choked with traffic through the year, so a half-day of no cars on SoBo roads is not too much to ask and should actually be welcome.

Do not jeer at strugglers and stragglers, do not mimic them. It takes courage to go to the start line, and the marathon distance of 42.195 km is enough to humble the best. Do not pass sexually charged remarks at women runners and generally behave like low life louts.

Instead, egg on the runners through their excruciating pain and many times, blood, sweat and even tears, cheering right through till they run through that tape at CST in a mix of agony and elation.

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