Friday, Oct 20, 2017 | Last Update : 04:06 PM IST
Three new young entrants have arrived on the scene as the Vasai Virar Marathon is announced for later this year.
The marathon season in Mumbai is off and running with the announcement of The 7th Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon, which will be held on December 10 later this year. Although the marathon will feature Mandira Bedi and Rahul Bose, there are three other stars that will be shining at the marathon. These young athletes have been adopted by Indiabulls for a year, as the home loans company is set to take care of their nutrition and their needs.
All these athletes hail from families who struggle to afford the prerequisites of their children and their families carry out small-scale activities to make a living. Diksha Ugale, Mayur Sutar and Manoj Magan Govind come from humble backgrounds but all of them have found a way out of these circumstances with running.
Thirteen year old Diksha Ugale is from Saiwan, a village near Vajreshwari, and is the youngest recipient of this service. Diksha started running at the tender age of eight, and was then ranked 2 in IBHL VVMM and she secured the first position in Vasai Kalakrida and Mahalaxmi Race course marathon. Her folks are farmers and labourers, who struggle to make ends meet. But despite such troubles, Diksha chose running because it is her passion. “It always fascinated me as a kid. I took part in the VVMM in 2016 where I came second (timing: 1.36.51), which motivated me to take part in more competitions,” says the young runner.
Mayuri, 17, came into the spotlight after she finished second in the IDBI Half Marathon with a timing of 46 minutes and 32 seconds. Her dream is to reach the big stage and make a career in running. “My parents have always been supportive of my running endeavours, even though we have never had the financial backing that is needed. After I had won a few competitions, they became more confident,” says Mayuri, whose father is a self-employed carpenter, and mother is a homemaker.
Based on their performances last year, these young athletes from Palghar district were selected by Indiabulls for a period of one year. “Their entire expenses on specific diet, nutrition, training and kitting will be taken care of for a year, following which they will be assessed and based on their performance and enthusiasm for the sport, the assistance will continue,” said Ashwini Hooda, DMD, Indianbulls Home Loans.
These young athletes will feature in the marathon, along with 17,000 other participants. Into its seventh edition, the marathon started with just 500 participants, when it began. Mayor Pravina Thakur has also played a part in the recent editions helping the sponsors organise the race and give the runners a fine experience. The prize money for the marathon is Rs 35 lakh as announced by the organisers. The prize money for the Battle Run, India’s only dedicated competition for running groups has been enhanced to Rs 3 lakhs, with the winning team standing to gain Rs 1.50 lakhs, followed by Rs 90,000 and Rs 60,000 for the first and second runner-up teams.
In order to make it a level-playing field only for amateur athletes, cut-off timings of 90 minutes and more for men and 105 minutes and more for women have been applied.