With just one day to go for the twelfth edition of the Mumbai Marathon, it is time to get into the spirit even if you are not competing. What makes Mumbai different from the other marathon cities in India and the world in fact, is the gusto of the people lining the route, the encouragement they offer runners not just the elite runners who sail through the course with aesthetic, sublime grace but amateurs too, struggling to get to the finish line. 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 failing legs and burning lungs than spectators’ cheers. The shouting gives new strength to legs that are not even finding the ground any more so tired are they and urges the mind to dig deep in its reserves and pull something special from there.
People must keep their cars in the building compound or away from the main roads, giving runners clear run of way till 12 pm. It is respectful to avoid driving for at least six hours or till midday if you have no emergencies. It shows that you have consideration for runners trying to finish the race and salute the spirit of everyone there. Given that Mumbai is a city choked with traffic through the year, a half-day of no cars on the road is not too much to ask.
Do not jeer at runners on the course, do not mimic them or ridicule 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, it is disgusting.
Be a spectator, who is proud to have an event of this magnitude in the city. Be a light this marathon, for this is an event for both, the runners and those who egg them on through excruciating pain and many times, tears, right to the finish line.