The city’s physically handicapped are set to be a part of the Mumbai Marathon again this year. But this year, 38-year-old Vinod Raut, who lost his left leg in a road accident at the age of 6, will be competing in the general category.
Raut, who has been taking part in Mumbai Marathon for the last 9 years, will be running with other able-bodied competitors in the 21km half-marathon. “I am privileged and lucky enough to get a chance to run and prove my ability. I see my weakness as a strength and I do not wish to waste the opportunity given to me,” said Raut who uses an artificial limb. “I have reduced my body weight by 16-18kg for the marathon and exercise whenever I get the time. I hope to complete the 21km run in two and half hours,” added Raut.
Barun Bhagtani, a 19-year old, who suffers from spasticity, will be participating in the marathon for the first time. “He is very excited about being able to participate in the wheelchair run at the marathon. He wants to be a part of society just like normal people and he believes that this opportunity is the first step towards achieving it,” said Sharmila Bhagtani, his mother. Barun is part of Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT)- a non-government organisation (NGO) and contributes to its work-skill unit. “He has lot of interest in sports and the prospect of participating in the marathon has increased his confidence and enthusiasm,” added Bhagtani.