They kept perspiring long after they had stopped running. They had been running for 12 hours straight!
It was city's first ultra marathon, and it saw a mixed bag of champions—those running for the joy of it, and those trying to better their performance.
And it looks like the '12 hour run. Mumbai Ultra', a non-commercial venture organised by Shivaji Park Marathon Club (SPMC), will be be staged next year too, as apart from the over 130 serious participants, there were over 1,000 who were part of the run.
Special cheers were reserved for the four who crossed the 100 km distance on schedule. "I started running long distance because I believe it can motivate people," said Arun Bhardwaj, a 45-year-old planning commission employee from Delhi. He added: "The first time I ran was to inspire my kids."
While Bharadwaj has completed the 100-km before, for some like Abbas Sheikh, who is into jewellery polishing, it was the first time. "This was like a practice run for me. I look forward to run the distance later in the year at an event that has strict time-format," said Sheikh, 30-year-old resident of Kalbadevi.
The motto was 'Choose Wellness Over Illness', and nearly all participants seemed keen keen to do justice to it. Some ran barefoot to adapt better to natural environs. Kunal Parekh, an IT professional, was one such. "My goal was to run 60km. However, I managed to complete 65," said the 38-year-old.
Among those cheering were Amarjit Singh Chawla, a visiually impaired person. He ran 22km along with (his help) Harshal Kuderkar. "If a visually impaired can run, why not you'. That was the message I wanted to convey," said Chawla.