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Mumbai Marathon: Ninety reasons to celebrate for Muralidhar

Diaries from the Mumbai Marathon 

Ninety reasons to celebrate
While people around puffed and panted their way across the finish line, for 90-year-old Muralidhar it seemed like a walk in the park. The lungi-clad nonagenarian was spotted calmly striding past the finish line, leaning on a stick and being guided by his grandson, Rakesh. This was the tenth time the Wadala resident was competing in the Senior Citizens’ Run of the Mumbai Marathon. In fact, Rakesh told MiD DAY yesterday that his grandfather only takes a mandatory long walk in the park every day as practice for the marathon.

90-year-old Muralidhar crosses the finish line with his grandson Rakesh at  the Mumbai Marathon yesterday. Pic/Amit Kamath
90-year-old Muralidhar crosses the finish line with his grandson Rakesh at  the Mumbai Marathon yesterday. Pic/Amit Kamath

Half marathon winner Soji loses kit
The joy of a podium finish in the men’s half marathon was short-lived for Soji Mathew. The Railways athlete, who came second, was in for a shock when he did not find his kit bag as soon as he returned from the medal ceremony. “After the race was over, the winners of the half marathon were taken to a rest room near the baggage collection counter. We then went for the medal ceremony and after I came from there, my kit bag was not there. I immediately alerted the volunteers, but they too could not find anything,” Mathew told MiD DAY. Indrajeet Patel clocked 1:04:56 to pip Mathew (1:05:45) for the top spot. Man Singh (1:16:17) took the third place. The most valuable item in his kit bag was the Rs 14000 shoes. “I had recently ordered a foreign pair of shoes on the internet. After shipping charges and everything, it cost me Rs 14000. It is quite a huge loss for me,” said Mathew, who suspects one of the athletes from his group of having robbed his kit bag.

Hill, a little left out?
While all the focus yesterday was centered on celebrities like John Abraham or athletes competing in the Marathon, F1 champ Damon Hill, who is the international brand ambassador of the 2014 Mumbai Marathon, was almost like a low key attendee at the event. In fact, Hill who was holding the finishing tape when Evans Ruto breasted it to clinch the full marathon honours, was later seen slightly clueless.

Driver Mhatre is the BEST man for the job
The Mumbai Marathon media bus is one of the best seats in the house to view the annual event. The moving double decker open top BEST bus leading the elite athletes across the 42 km course captures the race to perfection. And driver Raju Mhatre has a major role to play in this. Mhatre (43) controls the speed of the bus perfectly so that photographers and journalists on board can follow the action closely. It’s not an easy job, as he explains: “The speed of the bus has to be maintained at 20 KMPH – it cannot go above as, that will make it difficult for the media men to view the race and it can’t go below, as that may hinder the progress of the athletes. So, it’s a tough job but I love it and look forward to it each year,” said Mhatre.

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