Mumbai: What does it take for runners to be passionate enough to go all the way to the financial capital of India every year for the Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM)? They come from across the world to Mumbai every year just to be part of the big gala event where running unites them all.
Around 55,000 runners will make it to the start line on Sunday to run the miles and get that finisher’s medal. Whether it is the dream run, the 21 km or 42km category, the determination is high and the passion to challenge their minds, be their own competition and emerge better versions of themselves make runners go out and conquer the streets of Mumbai. That drive, that goal, that sense of achievement. That is the euphoria that surrounds TMM.
What is new this year is that the race organizers Procam International are initiating a virtual run in collaboration with Asics Runkeeper. Procam International which started the marathon in Mumbai in 2004 has been instrumental in building a running community and culture across the country which has inspired businessmen like Anil Ambani and Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrashekaran to run a 42km-full marathon.
Seasoned runners have put in months of hard work to practice for the D-Day and TMM never ceases to lure them halfway across the country to city that never sleeps. Srinivas Guntupalli who is an IT professional from Bangalore is running TMM for the 11th consecutive time. He started in 2008 with the 6km dream run, upgraded to a half marathon the next year and in 2010 did a full marathon. “I go back there year after year for the excellent course and enthusiastic crowd, both runners and supporters. That little girl on Peddar road who offered me candy and shouted ‘Uncle run’ while I was struggling at 36km, the music bands on marine drive and the view on sea link are worthwhile,” says Srinivas Guntupalli.
He adds, “As a runner I would say it is important to taper down a couple of weeks towards the event. Also loading on carbohydrates during the week, having a rough pace strategy to follow and focussing on recovery post the marathon would make the race more enjoyable,” says Srinivas.
Srinivas’s training includes several months of cross training, strength and conditioning apart from running. Till date he has completed 49 full marathons, 5 ultra-marathons and 43 half marathons.
Another runner Colonel Sandeep Madan, who is posted in Hyderabad, has many reasons to come to TMM year after year. He believes that it is undoubtedly the ‘holy grail’ of marathons in India and says it is the best organized event to experience. “The scenic route, excellent hydration and nutrition support is part of the wonderful assistance and involvement of the civil administration. One needs to run to experience the amazing spirit of Mumbaikars who line up along major stretches to cheer runners. One needs to run it to know the experience,” says Colonel Sandeep Madan.
He believes that the training programme for a full marathon should be between 16 to 18 weeks. “You gradually increase weekly mileage which is a mix of long runs, speed workouts and hill training. Core strengthening and resistance training too are an important part of training,” adds Colonel Madan. Like Srinivas, he believes the last two weeks one should taper down which is decrease mileage.
As the start line eagerly awaits runners, it is time to load up on simple food and hydrate well before the euphoria of a sea of runners grip the hearts and minds of runners at TMM.
In order to facilitate the half-marathon participants in the Mumbai Marathon 2020, a shuttle bus service has been announced by the organisers. The Tata Mumbai Marathon’s official Twitter handle shared this information on Thursday.