A challenge behind the wheels | india | Hindustan Times
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A challenge behind the wheels

While Kelai defended the title he won in the men’s marathon last year, Mhatre drove the double-decker bus carrying journalists for the fifth successive year, reports Akshay Deshmane.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2008 01:35 IST
Akshay Deshmane

For John Kelai, it was two in a row. For Raju Mhatre, it was five in a row.

While Kelai defended the title he won in the men’s marathon last year, Mhatre drove the double-decker bus carrying journalists for the fifth successive year.

For Mhatre, a driver with the BEST, driving the bus on the marathon day is a big challenge. Since the bus precedes the pack of runners, it needs to maintain a certain distance from them and also ensure that it doesn’t block their path.

At the same time, Mhatre has to keep in mind that the speed is just right for reporters and photographers.

Mhatre had to undergo special training for the assignment. The most challenging parts of the route for him were the hairpin bends opposite the Hilton at Nariman Point and at Bandra reclamation. “As I approach these points, I accelerate a bit so that I’m there well before the runners and there is enough time to make the complicated turn,” Mhatre said.

A man of few words, Mhatre admitted after much coaxing: “It is a tiring job. A single mistake can at times create huge problems in coordination.”

But he hopes that one day he would be a part of the run. “But there’s always work to do on the day of the race,” he said.