The entire city awaits anxiously 3rd Sunday of January month. Almost the entire City turns up to take up the roads as the arena for the biggest sporting event of the year, The Mumbai Marathon. The mega event brings together the entire cross-section of the population to celebrate health, fitness, and the spirit of the people, while living in the toughest of urban environments. All come together, irrespective of caste, creed, color, gender, age, and fitness.

The uniqueness of the marathon is that every participant has a story, a reason, a purpose, a mission to be a participant. The visits to the Marathon have been my favorite activity and have been a great learning outcome. Some of the stories are imbued with the spirit of coming back to life, making new friends, believing in self and breaking the restrictive notions, and emerging refreshed.

A retired bank manager has found a new purpose to life with participation in the marathon as he spends the whole year preparing not just to participate but be better in each passing year. The newfound purpose to life has seen him transform himself from a declared Senior Citizen into a charming sports enthusiast. The best confession line from him to quote is ‘I gave up sports for studies and then for the job all these years, now after being retired from a job that was everything, instead of feeling dejected, the marathon has added a new spring to my life and a trajectory back to the days, I always dreamt to live. The same vibrant enthusiasm is seen in every participant senior citizen especially the joy of stepping forward amongst the sportsmen of tomorrow, is an emotion of quest for life and the never-ending spirit of hope and good health.

An art enthusiast believes a marathon has been the best thing to enjoy the cityscapes. The entire city welcomes the on-foot traffic, let free to gleefully explore the city limits without traffic. Capturing the vistas of city silhouettes emerging and disappearing throughout the journey. He believes the run gives him the feeling of being a gladiator in the colosseum, with crowds cheering every step as each benchmark is crossed.

The spectacular participation of the enthusiasts in the event fills the environment with euphoria. The participation by the celebrities, otherwise difficult to capture the glimpse are running with the masses, sweating it out for the sheer joy of running. The entire city appears to have gathered to celebrate the joy of living without any inhibitions.

A group of women jogging their way to marathon year after year has improved their overall fitness level year after year and has given them the much-needed boost to face the challenges of daily chores with re-invigorating vigor and charm. A sense of discipline and purpose to life is that the marathon has added. A housewife claims that waking up and looking forward to the challenges of the day ahead was a dreadful task, the beginning of her journey as an enthusiast for a marathon had changed everything, as she expressed, she could not thank it enough.

Many participants claimed to have fostered new friendships and discovered similarities of interest from the strangest walks of life. The young CEO of a multinational company expressed the value that it has added to his profile and the overall perception amongst his team members in accepting the dynamics of leadership with a track record of being a marathon runner year after year. He expresses that a marathon runner needs no introduction of an elaborate CV to express his disciplined performance and ability to deliver consistently.

A team of sportsmen was glad to be part of the event as it brought them together with the other participants and allowed for engaging exchanges on health and stamina building. The physique remains in shape and the fitness remains tested.

Marathon has been a blessing to this truly overburdened City, that offers very little or no opportunity for the individual to express the joy of freedom. The Marathon is truly the mother of all the sporting events of the city. Running truly sets one free. If the essay interests you, do wear a sports attitude and take on to the streets, I am sure a marathoner shall cross your path and cheer you to join the team. Be the Sunshine of your own life, be an early riser, be a Marathoner.

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