More than 5,000 enthusiasts participated in the Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon 2011 held on Sunday. This was the first marathon held in the region.
Deepchand Saharan, an Army subhedar who hails from Churu in Rajasthan and is training at the Army Institute in Pune, won the 42-km full marathon with a timing of 2 hours, 28 minutes and 3 seconds. Bhaskar Madhukar Kamble of Washim (Raigad district) came second crossing the finishing line nine minutes after Saharan.
Western Railway’s Kiran Prayag Tiwari emerged triumphant in the open half-marathon (21km) for women. She reached the finishing line in 1 hour, 18 minutes and 21 seconds, a minute before second-placed Lalita Babbar.
“I was to run in the steeplechase event at the 51st National Open Athletics in Kolkata last week. But the event got cancelled as only two of us [Sudha Singh being the other] had turned up for the event. A minimum of three participants are required for the competition. I have been in good form and wanted to give this marathon a try. I am glad I came here,” said Tiwari.
While Saharan bagged Rs1 lakh, Tiwari, took home Rs51,000.
Providing some respite from the humid weather were the constant cheers of the locals and students from various schools. “There was not one dull moment. I thoroughly enjoyed the run as people were encouraging us at each step,” said Saharan.
Not just young boys and girls, but senior citizens too showed their enthusiasm by participating in the 3-km run. The Virar-Vasai Municipal Corporation (VVMC) also felicitated hockey star Yuwraj Valmiki with a cash purse of Rs1 lakh, on the occasion.