The 152-kilometre Mumbai-Pune race, one of the longest running cycle races in the country, completes its golden jubilee, on Sunday. The cycle race that was started in 1946 by an Englishman posted in India during the British Raj, has been held every year since 1980. Prior to 1980, there have been years when the race was abandoned.
Sunday’s race will begin at 7am from the Gateway of India and take a route that will go via RK studio, Vashi, Palm Beach road, Panvel, Khopoli ghat, Lonavala, Kamshet, Pimpri-Chinchwad and finally Sambhaji garden. The race is only for men.
“The first person to cross the finish line will earn Rs1 lakh, second place will get Rs75,000 and the third place will get Rs51,000. Another Rs 35,000 will be handed to the cyclist who crosses the line within 30 minutes after the winner. And then we also King of Ghat the cyclist who crosses the Ghats first will get Rs31,000,” said Pratap Jadhav, secretary, Maharashtra Cycling Association.
The ghat-section is considered to be the most difficult challenge for the cyclist. Onkar Jadhav, 23, a cyclist and fifth time participant, completed the race in less than four hours last year. “Riding though the ghats is an something you dont get to experience often,” said the Kharghar resident.
Till Friday evening Jadhav had received 135 entries for the race.
Before 1971, the track was 200 kilometre, which was later reduced. After the Vashi bridge came into being, the route got shortened further.