Two of the Mumbai Marathon’s biggest celebrity draws — actors John Abraham and Akshay Kumar — didn’t actually run the marathon.
Abraham, the marathon’s ambassador, made an appearance to show solidarity with the participants and to support the Make A Wish foundation in the Dream Run.
For a brief stretch on the Dream Run route, participants began moving off the road and towards the podium on the side of the road. It had momentarily become a run towards Abraham, who spent part of the morning waving and encouraging participants from the sidelines.
Kumar used his athleticism only to good-naturedly wave and cheer senior citizens from a podium. He was present on behalf of Tina Ambani’s Harmony for Silvers Foundation that supports the Senior Citizens’ Run at the marathon. Bad man Gulshan Grover played Good Samaritan as he joined the cheering squad for the silvers.
Actress Genelia D’Souza earned herself some good karma by supporting the Nina Foundation that supports people with spinal injuries. The actress, in shorts and a blue tee, pushed the wheelchair of a differently-abled participant for the 2.5-km wheelchair event.
Her ‘good friend’, actor Ritesh Deshmukh, ran the six-km Dream Run for Muktangan, a child-centered educational programme.
The celebrity line-up also included Vidya Balan, Gul Panag, Rahul Bose and Tara Sharma. Model and fitness freak Milind Soman, ran the Full Marathon (42 km), albeit without a charitable cause.
Author Shobhaa De gave up her trademark sari for a sporty tracksuit avatar complete with an upturned collar and P-cap.
“It’s physically impossible for me to jog out the entire six km,” she said.
Though she didn’t manage to complete the Dream Run, De said the runners supporting Childline had raise “considerably amount of money” for the cause of distressed children. But the most important message of the marathon, according to her, was the fact that “Mumbai runs as one on this day.”
For two days, VJ-turned-actor Purab Kohli mulled over his decision to run the 21-km Half Marathon.
“I’ve done the Dream Run several times but never the Half Marathon. It’s a huge commitment but it feels really good because at the end you are only competing with yourself,” said Kohli who is considering running the Full Marathon next year.
“Running a distance is amazing. Once you cross 10-12 km, every other kilometre feels like a milestone. Running across the sealink was a bit of a downer because everyone had started ambling to admire the bridge. There was so much human traffic.
“But when you cross those mammoth cables, you really feel like you’ve taken flight. It’s a great feeling,” he said.