Preeti Aghalayam, 37, moved to Chennai for a new job two years ago but has not broken her tradition of running the half marathon in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon for the past seven years.
"I run the Chennai Marathon too, but in January, I always travel to Mumbai because I cannot miss this run," said the chemical engineering professor, who completed the race on Sunday in 150 minutes, her best so far.
Aghalayam isn't the only one who flew into the city to keep her date with the mega event.
With out-of-town runners coming from even distant pockets of the country, the marathon had the much-needed colour and diversity. For many, running their maiden Mumbai marathon, the Bandra-Worli sea link and the Kemp's Corner flyover were unexpected challenges owing to their steep incline.
Pavitra Krishnamurthy, 36, a marketing professional from Bangalore, flew down to Mumbai on Saturday to run the half marathon. "The Mumbai Marathon is the best test of endurance owing to the challenge and aura associated with it," said Krishnamurthy, who has participated in the Bangalore marathons.
For Raigad-based schoolteacher Sunil Ratnakar, who completed the full marathon, it was the scale of the marathon that proved to be a major attraction. As a university student, Ratnakar had participated in several athletic competitions.
Mala Honnattil, 58, a senior veteran in the full marathon, flew down from Gurgaon to complete her 27th marathon. Honnatill has participated in marathons around the world including New York, Macau and Japan. "I am a part-time banking professor, which helps fund my marathon dreams," said Honnatill.
Nuria Quarol, 31, a volunteer with the Delhi Front Runners, considers her marathon debut a "memorable one". She participated in the city marathon to promote healthy living among homosexuals and managed to meet a few like-minded people on the course. "Mumbai is more open to homosexuality and people have no inhibitions," Quarol said.