The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2008 has been awarded a Silver Label by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for the sport of athletics, as announced at a press meet on Tuesday in Mumbai.
On its fifth anniversary in January 2008, the Mumbai Marathon will fly the Silver Label. The Silver Label is awarded to marathons having a minimum of five elite athletes and who have recorded timings below 2:12 for men and before 2:32 for women in the preceding 24 months. It also takes into consideration stringent details regarding the conduct of the marathon that should measure up to the best events in the world.
The Mumbai Marathon, started in 2003, has gained immensely in popularity. There are six categories: Full Marathon; Half Marathon; Dream Run; Corporate Challenge; Senior Citizens' Run; Wheel Chair Event. This year 55,000 applications had already been received for 30,000 running places. And the half marathon category was oversubscribed, claimed the organisers. This year the number of athletes from different countries has gone up too. It's 54.
However, the Mumbai Marathon did not qualify for the Gold Label. "Our timings are a little off gold label mark mainly because of the hot climate," explained Vivek B Singh, Jt MD, Procam International, the promoters of the event.
This event is also touted as the single largest charity event in India, today. Last year, close to Rs 8 crore was collected in the kitty. "This year we have a bench mark of Rs 10 crore," said Arup Banerjee of Give India, the official charity organisation for the event.
For the first time there will be a Mumbai Marathon Expo, four days before the event, at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai. The expo will show case health, fitness and lifestyle products.
While actor John Abraham is the event ambassador, his colleagues from Bollywood like actors Rahul Bose and Suchitra Krishnamurthy and dance guru Shiamak Davar will be participating as Dream Teamers, running for their favourite charity.