Vasai-Virar Marathon

The 4th edition of the Vasai-Virar Mayors Marathon finished off with most of the athletes creating new records compared to the earlier editions. Participants thanked the organisers for hosting this event in a much cooler December instead of the October heat.

More than 12,000 people participated in this event. The tribals once again made their presence felt in their land as they won prizes in around five segments. The organisers have now assured to make this an international event.

In the 21km half marathon segment, national athlete Kavita Raut continued her winning streak by achieving a hat-trick in this edition and clocked the distance in 1:16:10 time breaking her own record. Monika Athare also improved her individual best to finish second while Monika Raut finished third.

The full marathon, which started at 6:15 am from Viva College, saw a lot of enthusiasts participating. However, army men staked their claims on the first three spots. Neeraj Pal, a regular marathoner, finish first while his colleague from a different regiment finished second. Girish Tiwari, who belongs to the Air Force and is a national marathoner and was participating in a race after a gap of two years, finished third. The army men continued their dominance even in the 21kms half marathon segment as they claimed first two spots while the third went to a railway employee. G Lakshamanan, who had won this event earlier also, came first. Kheta Ram, who belongs to the Army Sports Institute, Pune, finished second. Railway head TT from Matunga, Soji Mathew, finished third.

Both Lakshmanan and Mathews, winners of the last edition, improved their last years tally.

The highlights of the event were participation and completion of the race by the VVMC commissioner Govind Rathod and police constable from Vasai traffic branch Arun Zendage as the former completed a 3km race and the latter completed 21kms race.

This event turned out to be more star-studded than the previous editions as actors from Marathi film industry along with national and international sportspersons graced this event. While Anju Bobby George was the brand ambassador, actor-athlete Milind Soman was the face of the event. French footballer Mikael Silvestre, who also plays as a defender for the Chennai in FC, was also present. The star, however, turned out to be the master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar who graced this event to motivate the participants.

During prize distribution the crowd went almost out of control just to see a glimpse of the master-blaster. Within seconds the chants of Sachin Sachin echoed in the Viva College campus with Tendulkar gesturing the crowds to maintain silence so that prize distribution could be completed.

He also gifted 10 people, his autobiography – Playing It My Way – randomly selected from the crowd. Tendulkar also spoke to the crowd and shared his experience.

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