At 18, Shantelle D’souze was the youngest participant among the half and full marathon runners.
“I was surprised to hear I was the youngest. It was so exciting. Next time, I will encourage some more family members to join me,” said the student of Mithibai College, Vile Parle, who participated with her brother.
Students from all walks of life were enthusiastic about participating in the marathon. Wheelchairs and crutches couldn’t slow down students from the Society for the Education of the Crippled as zipped along in the Champions with Disability on Sunday.
Thirty-two school students and 35 adults, suffering from various disabilities, took part dressed as milkmen, dhabbawalas, koli folk and even Bal Thackeray to represent the eclectic spirit of Mumbai.
“The students had an exciting day. The marathon has an energy about it,” said Manju Utamchandani, programme coordinator of the school.
And it wasn’t just differently-abled students. Their caretakers, teachers, school bus drivers and 15 volunteers from École Mondiale World School, Juhu, pushed the participants’ wheelchairs and cheered them on.
Radhika Sinha, principal of Aditya Birla World School, Tardeo, said of her student Meera Mehta, who ran for a local charity, “She is committed to her cause and we are really proud of her. We encourage more students to participate each year.”
Running for charity also came with its share of benefits.
“The bands were excellent. It was great to run at Marine Drive surrounded by people cheering and screaming. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my birthday,” said Isha Jain, a Class 10 student of Billabong High, Juhu.