mid-day editorial: It's up to us to keep the marathon spirit alive

Published: Jan 20, 2018, 06:06 IST | mid-day correspondent | Mumbai

With the Mumbai marathon just a day away, everyone - runners and non-runners - has a role to play in making this fifteenth run one to remember

With the Mumbai marathon just a day away, everyone - runners and non-runners - has a role to play in making this fifteenth run one to remember.

Even after so many years, the marathon has a reputation that can make every Mumbaikar justifiably proud. Every outsider says that it is the zest of the spectators that is inspiring, their encouragement gives them the extra fuel to make it to the finish line when legs are leaden, lungs are full and the mind tells you to just give up. The cheering gives new strength to legs that are so tired that they can no longer take another step; the crowd's encouragement will drive even an amateur runner to dig deep into their reserves, to put in one last push even when there is no fuel left in the tank.

Over the years though, we have seen some of this enthusiasm flagging, and the roads no longer seem to be lined with Mumbai's cheerleaders in full force. We must step out in larger numbers so that runners get that pep in their step. Keep your cars away from the main roads. Even though traffic opens at a stipulated time, it is respectful to avoid driving for at least six hours. Given that Mumbai is choked with traffic through the year, a half-day of no cars is not too much to ask.

Do not ridicule or mimic runners. It takes courage to go to the start line, and the marathon distance of 42.195 km is challenging and humbling. Behave like a spectator who is proud to have an event of this magnitude in Mumbai. Be a shining part of this annual event, which is truly inclusive, as it is about the city, for the city and of the city. Keep a special cheer for our Indian defence force runners. Cheer on our army men, show them you care.

Lace up your shoes, Mumbai. The fifteenth marathon is here.

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