His rippling biceps and well-carved physique have given way to brittle bones and freckled skin. But Chunilal Panchal, 95, who won the Mr Bombay title in 1952, once again stole the limelight on Sunday.
Panchal was the oldest among 1,251 participants to complete the 4.3km senior citizens' run in the ninth edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on Sunday.
"This was the first time I participated in the marathon. However, I am not too sure if I will be alive to participate in the event next year," said Panchal, a resident of Grant Road.
With old Hindi numbers blaring from loudspeakers, the 60-plus participants walked, and at intervals, some even did a little jig along the course.
Marching forward, some participants such as Narendra Sahu, 70, and Srihari Ingle, 56, walked straight back in time on the course. Dressed as Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose, the two seniors spoke about the need for 'new independence' for the country.
"Today, our country is plagued by controversies and scams, which are threatening our independence. The country needs revolutionaries such as Bose, Tilak, Gandhi and Nehru to fight corruption and gift us freedom," said Ingle.
Some participants complained about the decline in participation this year. "Though the facilities and routes were better managed this year, we had fewer senior citizens on the course," said Mahendra Saraiya, 72, who has been associated with the marathon since its inception in 2004.
As per the statistics provided by Procam International, the organisers of the event, the senior citizens' category had 1,800 registered participants in its eighth edition last year. This year, 1,251 aged participants registered in the category.