AS Mumbai gets chillier by the day, people can be seen on the streets and seaside, practising for the one event that brings the city together in celebration of a fitter lifestyle — the Mumbai Marathon.
Since its inception in 2004, the Mumbai Marathon, which is held on the third Sunday of January, has been an iconic event, attracting people from varied walks of life, including celebrities, businessmen and movie stars.
But not all people lace up their shoes in the months prior to the grand event. Many feel that preparing for the marathon is a longer-term goal that must be incorporated into everyday life.
Participants get to choose between the full marathon (42 km), half-marathon (21 km), dream run (6 km), senior citizen’s run (4.3 km) and champions with disability run (2.4 km).
Aayush Poddar, 32, was never fit enough to run the marathon. “Throughout school, I was made fun of for my weight as I was over 100 kg. I have always had an up and down journey with weight and I kept losing and regaining it. Last year, I set a goal that I wanted to lose weight to run the half-marathon and I have never looked back since,” he says.
In the past 11 months, Poddar has shed 17 kg and trained all out for the marathon. His fitness routine involves running in Marine Drive at 7 am and working out in the gym work thrice a week. “My wife, being a fitness fanatic, pushes me harder,” he says. Following a diet helps him achieve his goals, he says.
Adnan Ebrahim, 23, fell in love with running recently. “Running helps keep me energised, active and on the move. I am also happy that more running events are springing up giving runners like me a calender full of fitness events to look forward to. I am also an avid squash player and it’s something I picked up before running came my way,” he says. Ebrahim says that preparing for the marathon is not something one should do just in the weeks or months leading up to it. “I have been jogging regularly, gradually increasing the distance I cover ever since I took it up.” However, one can’t stop running throughout the year and then start and expect to be in good shape, he says. “Taking part in other runs keeps me ready and fit for the Mumbai Marathon. I also try to build and maintain a good level of fitness through swimming and other sports,” he adds.
The marathon starts and ends opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai. It passes many of the city’s iconic locations such as Flora Fountain, Marine Drive, Chowpatty, Haji Ali, Mahim Church and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link before ending at the starting point.