The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, is an annual international marathon that has been held in Mumbai, India, on the third Sunday of January since 2004. It is the largest marathon in Asia, the largest mass participation sporting event on the continent, and the race with the largest prize money in India – USD $350,000.The Marathon is also India’s largest charity platform for non-profit organizations to raise funds. Due to its massive philanthropic contributions, and sheer number of participants, the Mumbai Marathon was youngest marathon to be awarded the “Flame of the Marathon”.
The Mumbai marathon has five different race categories: marathon (26.218 miles (42.194 km)), half marathon (21.097 km), Dream Run (6 km), Senior Citizens Race (4.3 km), and the Champions with Disability (2.4 km). The marathon starts opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai. It passes many of the city’s iconic locations such as Flora Fountain, Marine Drive, Chowpatty, Haji Ali, Mahim Church, and the Bandra–Worli Sea Link. In the 2015 edition of the marathon, 40,485 runners took part, and hundreds of thousands of citizens lined the roads, cheering the runners on. (Watch this great video of the supporters from the sidelines)
The marathon is an event where people from all walks of life participate including Bollywood celebrities, sports personalities, business tycoons and amateur athletes.Mumbai lacks city wide symbols to rally around – we have no local sports teams of any merit – so the Mumbai Marathon is a chance for the city to come together and celebrate its spirit.
The ad campaigns for the Marathon reflect this attitude of inclusiveness. My favorite was the 2010 campaign with the theme ‘I will win’.The camera captured many moments in the TVC, including a child crawling up a huge pile of garbage to raise his arm in victory, saying ‘I will win’; two school girls sitting on a flight of stairs mouthing the same words; a housewife, too, saying that she’s going to win; a prostitute, the blind – all claiming confidently that they’re going to win. The frame then showed shots from an earlier marathon to finally say that when Mumbai runs the marathon, a child can conquer illiteracy, a woman is empowered and more people prevent AIDS.