Saturday, May 26, 2018 | Last Update : 01:52 PM IST
Thirty-six professional long distance male and female athletes from across the country will take on the Vasai and Virar roads.
Despite the unexpected rains from last couple of days the organisers of seventh Indiabulls Vasai Virar Mayor's Marathon are ready to host the event on Sunday. The surprise rains cast a shadow on the event and news of its postponement was circulating on social media but the organisers made it clear the event is on and will be flagged off from two different locations in Virar and Vasai on Sunday. With lowering temperatures due to rain, the organisers expect course records to be broken on Sunday as it will help athletes to run better and register good timings.
“We are prepared well. Rains have not hampered our plans. The route for running has been inspected by the technical committee and they are happy about it. A traffic free route has been planned for the duration of the event. Besides police, there will be huge contingent of teachers and more than 500 volunteers to conduct the event. Safety of participants is our top priority,” said Mayor of Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation, Praveena Thakur.
Around 18000 participants from varied groups including state’s senior police officers Anup Kumar Singh, IPS, Special IG (Maharashtra), Manjunath Singe, IPS, SP (Palghar), Namrata Patil (SPS), Additional SP (NIA), Maya Patole (Deputy Collector), Jayant Bajbale DYSP (Palghar) and Satish Devkate, DDR will be present. Besides these, 12 participants from NIA and eight from the ACB, Mumbai will also be seen in action. Thirty-six professional long distance male and female athletes from across the country will take on the Vasai and Virar roads.
The men's full marathon will be led by defending champion Rashpal Singh of Army Sports Institute, Pune. Rashpal is in good form this year, having recorded his personal best of 2:30:23 at the National Marathon in New Delhi. He clocked 2:22:04 to eclipse 28 seconds from fancied Kheta Ram's record of 2:22:32 set in 2015.
Pankaj Dhaka from JSW, Jabalpur armyman Sanaton Singh, ASI's Bhram Prakash and Any Sathyadas and GB Patle are some of the other top contenders in men's full marathon.
The men's half marathon will be spearheaded by Kalidas Hirave, who has season's best timing of 1:03:27 clocked while winning the BSF Half Marathon in Delhi. Pradeep Singh, Man Singh, Govind Singh, besides Chandrakant Manwadhkar and Savhin Patil of Railways will be other main contenders.
Swati Gadhave and Monika Atahare are strong contenders in women's half marathon along with Monika Raut, Meenakshi Patil and Manisha Salunke.
Joining the professional runners will be around 640 full marathoners, 4000 plus Half Marathoners and 2000 plus 11km runners. Running in their wake will be around 12000 plus athletes in the junior age group races, over 1.5 kms, 3 kms, 5kms, 7kms and 11 kms and the Dhamal Dhaav over 4 kms.
The event provides a prize fund in excess of Rs 40 lakhs. It will have a special category called the “Battle Run”, a team event exclusive for running groups over the half marathon distance and 5 kms. The winner of the Full Marathon for men will stand to gain Rs 2.50 lakh, while the male and female winners of the Half Marathon will take home Rs 1.25 lakh each. There is an increase in the prize money for amateur runners as well in the different age groups.