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Over 30,000 to join in Mumbai marathon


Mumbai : Come Sunday, more than 30,000 people, including Bollywood stars and big industrialists, will don their T-shirts and sports shoes to join in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, one of the grandest jamborees of the city.

The run will have many actors like Sagarika Ghatge of “Chak De! India” fame, Tara Sharma, Rahul Bose, John Abraham, Konkana Sen Sharma, Suchitra Krishnamurthi, Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker Mani Ratnam, lyricist Javed Akhtar, television personality Mandira Bedi, maestro A.R. Rahman and industrialists Anil Ambani and Niranjan Hiranandani, participating.

“This is the first time I am participating in the marathon. Throughout my school life, I had been active in sports. So, I love all the sports events,” an excited Sagarika Ghatge told IANS.

Sagarika will participate in the 6 km long Dream Run. “I will be part of the Dream Run,” she said.

Tara Sharma said: “This is an amazing platform to raise money for charity works. I will support three organisations this year, Magic Bus, Cancer patients Aids Association and Night of Life.”

Actor Rahul Bose said the marathon would be a special event for him. “I am running for my own NGO this year, The Foundation. It is really a momentous occasion for me,” said Bose, who had participated in the marathon earlier.

Last year, the marathon raised almost Rs.80 million ($2 million) for various charity groups, involving 80 NGOs. “This year, we have set a target of Rs.100 million ($2.5 million),” said Vivek B. Singh, managing director of Procam International, a full-fledged sports and leisure management company which is popularising distance running in the country.

The number of participants has gone beyond expectations, said Singh.”We were expecting 30,000 participants, but now the number has reached 33,000,” Singh added.

“This year, the prize money has also been increased to Rs.9.6 million ($ 240,000) from Rs.400,000 ($10,000) last year,” said Hugh Jones, race director.

According to the organisers, the highlight of the event would be the participation of 40 of the world’s top 100 long distance runners along with India’s top marathoners and half marathoners. The rest of the participants are Mumbai’s sporting and fitness enthusiasts.

The race will be flagged off from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in South Mumbai early morning.