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Ashok Patil will run at the Mumbai Marathon

Thanks to MiD DAY’s timely intervention, tea vendor, who had participated to participate in  the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon for the last three years, will run in the half marathon tomorrow

Till Friday afternoon, Ashok Patil, a tea vendor who had run the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon for the last three years, wasn’t sure if he would be participating in the event this time.

Tea vendor Ashok Patil, who will run the half-marathon on Sunday, at his tea stall yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate.

That’s because he had missed the form-submission deadline as he was recovering from an injury to the deep adductor muscle in his right leg that he sustained during last year’s race. But, thanks to timely intervention by MiD DAY and a gentleman, coupled with some leniency shown by the organisers, Patil will be able to run the half-marathon tomorrow.

The 27-year-old runs a tea stall in the busy bylanes of Crawford Market and earns about Rs 4,000 a month on an average, a portion of which he invests in running while another portion he sends to his family in Sangli.

“Running the Mumbai Marathon I achieved a lot of medals, certificates and appreciation from people. Last year, I completed the full marathon with great difficulty. My leg hurt badly. I couldn’t lift it and consulted a doctor. He advised me to rest for six months. I started walking only in September; hence I didn’t fill the form in time. Participating in this year’s marathon wasn’t on my mind after that. Treating my leg was more important for me. It was in November that I started jogging and by December I could run a distance of about five kms,” he said.

When MiD DAY contacted him yesterday, he expressed his desire to run the half-marathon. But when he was told that as a special case he could run the marathon he was reluctant to do so. “Now, I run around 10-15 kms a day and I wish I could run the half-marathon. I am happy that because you contacted the organisers I can run the marathon. But I don’t have the money to fill the form. I spent all the money in buying general knowledge books to prepare for exams for a government job,” said Patil, who sleeps outside a godown in Crawford Market.

If things go as per plan, he will start his run from Bandra and finish at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). “I consider myself lucky. I am just another tea vendor, but running has given me quite a lot of fame. I just want to thank the person who paid for my run. As I hadn’t trained with the marathon in mind, I would definitely try and finish it. I don’t have any timing on my mind to finish it though,” he signed off.

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