It was one of the city’s most-awaited events, but participants were made to run ragged by an unforeseen impediment. Plastic bottles strewn all over on the Worli side of the sea link might be a familiar sight these days, but these discarded vessels were a major hurdle in the way of athletes at the 11th Mumbai Marathon yesterday.
During the race, contestants had to constantly sidestep these bottles scattered on the route. The area had already become congested, as the full and half marathon participants ran concurrently. MiD DAY spoke to a few runners who found the experience decidedly uncomfortable.
“There were loads of plastic bottles lying around at the Worli end of the sea link, owing to which I had to slow down, as I feared I would step on them and slip,” said Arun Gupta, who ran the full marathon. “One cannot expect cleanliness immediately after runners pass through a certain area. It takes time to tidy up a spot,” contended Bruno Goveas, director of public relations, Procam International (the organiser). Two ragpickers were witnessed collecting the plastic bottles, but their effort clearly wasn’t enough.
Plastic bottles were a major hurdle in the way of runners. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Not only this; the half marathon contestants were visibly upset, as after running 21 kilometres they had to wait in queue for about 45 minutes to collect their medals. Many of the participants were particularly peeved, as not all counters were functioning, because of which they had to keep standing, despite not being in a condition to do so.
Two ragpickers were cleaning up the area, but their endeavour fell short
While the full and half marathons kicked off as per schedule, the Dream Run (6 km) witnessed a 15-minute delay, i.e., instead of 9 am the race began at 9.15 am and went on till noon. “The thrown plastic bottles and tetra paks will be cleaned up by Monday morning, so that people are not inconvenienced because of the littering,” said municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte.