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38,000 running

The oldest person running in the full marathon is 77–year-old cardiologist Ashish Roy from Delhi who is running for the fourth time. A total of 3,500 people have registered to take part in the full marathon.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2010 20:20 IST
Naomi Canton

MarathonThe Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon takes place on Sunday, January 17. The marathon, which is in its seventh year, has seen the highest participation this year with 38,450 runners. The prize money has been increased to Rs 1.4 crore.

Registrations to participate in the event, which is organised by Mumbai-based sports and leisure management company Procam International, closed six months ago. For the first time, the marathon runners will run over the Bandra-Worli sealink in one direction. World famous athlete Dan O’Brien and actor John Abraham are the marathon ambassadors.

Milind Soman is running the full marathon again this year, while Purab Kohli is running the half marathon. Anand Mahindra, Rahul Bose, Tara Sharma, Sanjeev Kapoor, Raju Srivastav, Shobhaa De, Dhanraj Pallai, Mana Shetty are also expected to run the Dream Run.

The schedule
The full marathon starts and finishes outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus (CST) and goes to Bandra and back. The half marathon starts at Rangsharda Auditorium Bandra. The rest start at CST. These are the start timings:

6.45 am Half marathon (21 kms)
6.45 am Full marathon (42kms) for those not competing for prize money
7.40 am Full marathon (42kms) for elite runners competing for prize money
7.50 am Wheelchair event (2.5kms)
8.05 am Senior Citizens’ Run (4.3km)
9.10 am Dream Run (6km)

The marathoners
The oldest person running in the full marathon is 77 –year-old cardiologist Ashish Roy (above) from Delhi who is running for the fourth time.
Mumbaikar Harshala Mahadik, an 18-year-old engineering student from Matunga, is the youngest person running the full marathon.
A total of 3,500 people have registered to take part in the full marathon, which kicks off at 6.45 am.
The oldest person running in the half marathon is Mumbaikar Madhusudan Hebatpuria, aged 76. It is the second time he has run. Last year he came 13th.
The youngest person running the half marathon is an 18-year-old engineering student called Ashwini Bhatkhande.
A total of 11,000 people have registered to take part in the half marathon.
22,000 are taking part in the Dream Run, 150 in the wheelchair category and 1,800 in the senior citizen category.

‘I don’t mind if I come last. I just feel good that someone my age is taking part’

Did you think you were too unfit or old to run the marathon? Well beat this. The oldest person running the half marathon in Mumbai is Madhusudan Hebatpuria, a 76-year-old local.

He doesn’t feel too old to run it, nor is it his first time. The grandfather took part in the half marathon for the first time last year and came 13th. “This year, I haven’t prepared as well,” he admits, as he was overseas till November and so only had two months to prepare.

And he admits he was unaware he was officially the oldest person taking part. He adds: “I participated last year and I will participate from now on, provided I am around. I love being fit.”

“I have been running and walking all my life,” he says. “All of a sudden, I thought why not participate in the marathon?”

The retired mechanical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai has maintained his fitness by doing body and yoga stretches and walking six to 10 kms a day, five days a week. Unlike many Mumbaikars, he has never joined a gym.
“I enjoy walking alone,” he explains. He has always eaten a vegetarian diet, avoided alcohol, fizzy drinks and cigarettes. And he is eating 60 per cent carbohydrates (lentils, mashed potatoes, rice and is taking vitamin supplements.

“I enjoy the diet and exercise,” he smiles. “It doesn’t make any difference to do this at my age. I could do the 42 kms but I don’t want to as I don’t have anything to prove. I am doing it for fun. I would say I’m as fit as a 55-year-old,” he says, adding, “Anyone my age can do it provided they take proper training and study under someone, or read books to prevent sports injuries.”
The reiki teacher says, “As you get older, you need hobbies to keep the mind and body healthy. People are happy to take tablets from the doctor but I don’t like that.”

As for his goal, he explains, “Having had only two months to prepare, I am a little worried that I won’t complete it in less than three hours. I don’t mind if I come last. I just feel good that someone my age is taking part.”

Fitness regime
Increased carbs in diet - eats lots of lentils, potatoes, vegetables and rice.
Regularly visits the physiotherapist to check his joints.
Reads self-help books on how to run a marathon such as The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett.
Speed-walks six days a week for one hour around IIT Powai, increasing the distance by 10 per cent each time.
Reads motivation books, practices positive thinking and reiki.

‘I just thought if my mother can do it, then so can I’

Ashwini Bhatkhande, 18, is the youngest person running the marathon this year for the first time.“I just thought if my mother can do it, then so can I,” the first year engineering student at Vatumal College, says. Her 50-year-old mother Rohini has been running the senior citizen marathon for the last two years.

“The Mumbai spirit on that day was really good,” she says. “And I wanted to be a part of it.” But she had to wait, as the minimum age was 18. Instead, she joined the Striders running club. She loves running and used to run at school as well as take part in inter-state running contests. Her training has been solely running with the group.

They run every day around south Mumbai, anything from 2 kms to 10 kms either on the streets or Mahalaxmi Racecourse from 6 am. Bhatkhande, who lives in South Mumbai, runs with them twice a week. She also goes to the gym once a week and does cardios and weights. She hasn’t run 21 kms at a stretch yet. Nor is she on a specific diet, but she drinks lots of Gatorade after the runs. Otherwise she eats her regular diet, with no changes – sabji, roti and chicken.

“Since this is my first time, I’m not taking it too seriously. I will jog at least 10 kms and if I can’t jog anymore after that, I will walk.” But she wants to finish it in less than three hours. Currently, it takes her an hour to complete 10 kms. She lost weight and is enjoying every minute of it. The personal challenge of running a marathon is what drives her.

“I will feel great if I feel complete it. I think more young people should be running the marathon. It brings people together in a great atmosphere.”

Fitness regime
Eats a regular diet of sabji, roti and chicken.
Runs with an amateur running group 5 kms twice a week early morning around South Mumbai or on the Racecourse running track
Drinks lots of Gatorade.
Visits the gym once a week and does cardio exercises and weights.

‘I wanted to be part of the Mumbai spirit’

I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. I really liked the spirit of the marathon and the communal jogging,” says 31-year-old investment banker Rajeev Panwar, who is running the half marathon for the first time. “I was inspired to do it by my colleague who’s done the half marathon twice and is now doing the full marathon. He’s been training for seven months,” he explains.

Panwar, who lives in Bandra, has been training for the past three months. “I wanted to be part of the Mumbai spirit, that you get to see on just a few days of the year, that is not driven by some tragedy,” he asserts.

He is running for a charity, Habitat, that provides housing for the homeless. But he admits it is the “personal challenge” that attracted him. After his training, he says, “I am less susceptible to colds and coughs and my immune system is much better. It really detoxes your body.”

He has also changed his diet – staying away from alcohol, junk and fried food and increasing his carbohydrates.
He hopes to finish the marathon in two hours 30. “The secret is running slowly,” he says. “After a point, your stamina builds up. I have developed so much patience, endurance and focus doing this and that helps me in my job too.”

Fitness regime
Once a week, he goes for a long run of 10 to 12 kms in the Carter Road-Band Stand area with his colleague.
Three to four times a week, he visits the gym and does cardio-based weight training to strengthen his muscles.
He jogs around the 400-metre track in Joggers’ Park in the evenings, four times a week.
He has managed to lose four and a half kilograms and feels much fitter
He avoids alcohol, junk food and fried food and has increased his carbohydrates, eating lots of rice, dal, as well as protein, vegetables and fruits.
He has a light dinner of salads at 9 pm.

‘It’s a great way to make new friends’

American Melissa Thermidor, a manager at an Indian HR firm, is busy training for the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. The 27-year-old moved to India on October 31, 2009 from New York but wanted to do something to feel part of the community. Two weeks after arriving, she started training.

Helping out

She is running for a small Bandra-based NGO, Committed Communities Development Trust, which helps families living in slums and on the pavement. “An Indian colleague helps the NGO and he ran the Marathon last year. I wanted to run too and I wanted to help his charity, so I was able to fulfill both my needs at once,” she explains. “I want to be part of the community and do something beneficial. It’s a good way to get involved and great way to make new friends,” she adds.

Thermidor has never run a half marathon before. But her fitness levels are high since she went to the gym three times a week when in New York and walked the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Walk every year. Her diet is protein-heavy, consisting of lots of meat, especially beef, twice a week. She doesn’t plan to run the full 21 km until the day.

“On the day I will run as much of it as I can, and then walk the rest. I haven’t set myself a time. If I can finish it, I will be happy. I’m not worried about the heat – I know there will be water all around,” she says confidently. Thermidor gets up early and runs before work and then again when she gets back.

She claims that she’s has never felt better. “I’m feeling so fit and full of energy and my skin is so much better. Before I started training, I was falling asleep at my desk by 2 pm. Now I can carry on until 8 pm and don’t feel tired at all.” “I am trying to encourage all the other expats to take part. The charity and the marathon are both wonderful causes,” she adds.

Fitness regime
She jogs around Kailash Tower in Hiranandani Gardens Powai twice a day for two to three kms. It includes running up and down a hill.
She also goes for long walks all around Vashi.
She eats a protein-heavy diet, consisting of lots of meat, especially beef, twice a week.