One week before the city wakes up to run in the Mumbai Marathon (SCMM), the Flame of the Marathon was welcomed in Mumbai by sportspersons and celebrities. The flame was flown down from Marathon in Greece.
The flame, which was lit three years ago in a campaign to symbolise peace and sportsmanship, is flown to all major marathon venues around the world. Greek champion marathoner Maria Polyzou, who escorted the flame here, handed the torch to Deputy Mayor of Mumbai, Shailaja Girkar, at the international airport before SCMM ambassador John Abraham ran the first leg of the torch relay which brought the hallowed flame to Hutatma Chowk, at Fountain, Fort, where a 15-foot high cauldron was lit up by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
This year’s marathon route includes the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, a fact that has attracted bigger crowds for the dream run.
This torch will stay lit till the end of the SCMM on January 17.
Last year’s runner-up David Tarus returns to run the SCMM as his Kenyan compatriot and 2009 winner Kenneth Mugara is missing from the line up due to injury. Mugara’s record time of 2:11.51 set last year, however, could become part of SCMM history. According to SCMM’s elite athlete co-ordinator Ian Ladbrooke, “The IAAF Gold Label (event) has attracted a very fast field and a sub 2-10 finishing time for the men and a sub 2-30 time for the women is being targeted.”