The limelight Budhia enjoyed after running 65 km made Mrityunjay think. He realised that running was not important, putting it on record was. So he ran with media tailing him to beam his feat live across the country. After he realised that he had humbled Budhia's record, he collapsed.
Although Mrityunjay alias Akash Padmacharan Mandal says he came to Mumbai from Orissa to "spread the message of peace in the trouble-torn city", it is the media attention that seems to have attracted the seven-year-old to the city. "In Mumbai you have a national coverage and get a better audience," said Mihir Kotecha, an official of Rastriya Oriya Pratisthan, the organiser of the event.
Mritunjay's run began at 4.35 a.m. from Durgadi fort in Kalyan and was to conclude at Gateway of India. But he collapsed near Kemp's Corner just when somebody said that he had already run 70 km.
Recuperating at GT Hospital he said, "I have run longer distance before but that was never recorded. So I wanted to make it official."
He will be kept under observation till Monday. "He has recovered well. He was dehydrated and just needed some intravenous fluids," said a doctor.
His father Padmacharan Mandal said, "Mritunjay runs 20 km daily. He wants to run for the country in Asian and Olympic games in," he added.
Earlier, four-year-old Budhia's long-distance running had kicked off a controversy. Budhia, who ran 65 km in seven hours on May 2 in Orissa, was banned from long-distance running following a medical report that said that the boy was "undernourished, anaemic and under cardiological stress."