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Mumbai: Marathon puts fast foot forward

Updated on: 11 August,2023 07:27 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

Green tweak for Mumbai marathon; registrations open for January 21, 2024 marquee event

Mumbai: Marathon puts fast foot forward

Harish Bhat, brand custodian, Tata Sons; Governor Ramesh Bais and Anil Singh, managing director, Procam International, during the launch of the 19th edition of the Tata Mumbai Marathon at Raj Bhavan on Thursday. Pic/Shadab Khan

Running slots are sure to be fast filling up, just like the Darbar Hall of the resplendent Maharashtra governor’s residence, Raj Bhavan, on Thursday evening. The Malabar Hill landmark was the venue for the launch of the Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM), to be held on January 21, 2024.

As a substantial audience listened, the marathon announcement event took off with promoters Procam International announcing that registrations for the 42-km race opened yesterday evening, August 10.

Vivek Singh, joint MD, Procam International, recalled the race’s deep connection with Raj Bhavan. Singh said, “On the third Sunday of January 2024, it will be the 19th edition of the marathon. It is time to turn the clock back to all those years ago when we wanted live television coverage of the race. At that time we were told that two choppers were needed to be in the air, for at least 4.5 hours for the television relay. Then we approached and got permission from the Raj Bhavan for the helicopters to land and refuel at the Raj Bhavan during the course of their filming flight. That is how deep our ties go,” he explained.

Rahul Bose, social activist, who has been associated with the event for years, claimed the marathon is now inextricably woven in the fabric of the city. “Mumbai is the music of the impossible dream,” said Bose poetically. Chhagan Bhujbal, minister, food & civil supplies, recalled an event called the Mayor’s Marathon in Mumbai years earlier.

“After that, came the Mumbai marathon. I was deputy CM then. I remember a meeting with the police commissioner, where initially the latter had said fiercely: I will not close the roads. I said this marathon will happen. The roads will remain closed,” he explained to cheers. Bhujbal recalled the coronavirus, which entailed event cancellation. There was also the spectre of terrorist attacks. “Like Ratan Tata has said, pointing to terrorists, ‘You can injure us, hurt us grievously, but never finish us off in spirit’,” Bhujbal announced as the audience applauded.

Governor Ramesh Bais spoke about the Mumbai streets becoming a great leveller. While this is an oft-repeated observation as a top corporate is on the start line with a labourer in a marathon, it was good to hear Bais, who added, “At the marathon, men and women, a trans person, the LGBT community all can and do run together.” There was a rainbow in the sky symbol of diversity synonymous with the queer community, over Raj Bhavan that afternoon.

There were a couple of tweaks for the edition. Registering for the TMM 2024 will allow every stakeholder to upgrade to a TMM green bib and be part of the TMM Agro Forest initiative. A participant can upgrade to a TMM Green Bib during registration and become a TMM evergreener. The minimum contribution during an upgrade is one tree; however, one can choose to contribute more than one tree and even a one-acre farm. The contribution amount for 1 tree is R635.  After getting your green groove on,  a special report by the Indian Institute of Sports Management highlighting the marathon’s influence on health, social impact, economic growth and sustainability, backed by numbers, was also released.

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