2 months post lockdown, Mahalaxmi race course opens for two-legged fleet

Updated: Jun 08, 2020, 07:29 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Walkers and joggers seeking open spaces for their cardio fix can now head to South Mumbai's 'green emerald' that once again open to all

The race course will be opened for a few hours twice a day; in the mornings and evenings. File pic
The race course will be opened for a few hours twice a day; in the mornings and evenings. File pic

As the state government lets people outdoors for solo exercise after over two months of lockdown, the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) throws open Mahalakshmi Race Course for joggers and walkers again.

The jogging track and the bowl of green, which gives the race course its name — 'green emerald of SoBo' — will stay open for public from 6 am to 9.30 am and again from 4.30 pm to 7 pm on all days.

Custodian of the turf, RWITC, has curtailed the timings slightly due to the prevailing health crisis. The turf officials said, "people are expected to adhere to the timings and to cooperate with security or any club staff members."

Gate access
A club official said it is "incumbent on people to get conversant with social distancing rules and hygiene practices as per the general guidelines."

A senior turf club official said,"Though we have numerous gates for access at other times, only one gate fromthe Haji Ali side in line with the National Sports Club of India, will be used for now. The othersgates that can give you access to the race course track from the Mahalaxmi sideremain closed." The BMC has set up COVID-19 quarantine facilities at theparking lot near the gate that can be accessed from the Mahalaxmi side.

Training track
Walkers and joggers can park their vehicles inside; there is a ground available for parking, though the club has stipulated that this is at the owners' risk. "We will not be liable for any damage or theft," said a club-in-charge. The track is a popular SoBo exercise venue, where some running clubs brought their members for training, before the pandemic hit. Several long-distance athletes from city also train at this ground.

Inside the track, in the green space, one can see people stretching, doing yoga and meditating as the sun rises. Currently, only solo cardio exercise is allowed.

With the monsoon around the corner, the rain will be a dampener for those excited about being in the open again, both literally and metaphorically as the track tends to become mushy. If caught in a sudden downpour in the middle of a run or walk, they will have to scramble to find a shade. The walking track has a signboard telling exercisers to 'watch out for the horses. They have right of way.' At other times, we see walkers and joggers keeping an eye out for horses on their morning track work on the course.

However, now, the two-legged fleet need not watch out for the equines. All the horses at the Mahalaxmi race course have been moved to the Pune stables.

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