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Running for a 'cause'

Faisal Shariff | February 15, 2004 15:16 IST
Last Updated: February 15, 2004 16:33 IST

The rich and famous always make news whenever they do something, however small it may be. Sometimes a cough in public is enough to even merit a column.

So when Anil Ambani, vice-chairman of the Reliance empire, decided to run the half marathon, he made it to the front pages of all newspapers.

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Sunday was no different. Even as a puny 13-year-old, Yogesh Patil, from Raigad finished the half marathon, the media cameras preferred to focus on Ambani's wife Tina, who was waiting dutifully with a white towel in hand for her better half at the finish line.

"The whole of Mumbai is excited and so am I. I am not sure if I will be able to complete the [Dream] run; I will mostly walk it up. I am suffering from a serious back problem, which does not allow me to run, but I am excited and sure that I will do it. If not run, then I'll walk. Even Anil is running and he has been training hard and will definitely make it in good time. I hope he does well," said Tina, cheering the runners of the half marathon as they crossed the finish line.

Meanwhile, the 13-year-old finished the race and was being lapped up by the media, when the buzz that Anil was at the finish line stole the five minutes of fame the young kid deserved.

As Anil finished the race well below the promising time of 1 hour 29 minutes he had achieved during training, all the video cameras, journos and photographers sprinted behind him.

Anil stopped, changed track, and walked towards the elite athletes' tent even as Tina fought her way through the hordes of media men to get the towel to him.

Suffocated by the journos breathing down his neck, he ran out of the tent and hugged his mother in the most melodramatic fashion.

Had you not heard of the Reliance brand in India, then you would have thought Anil had finished the race of his life or probably won the marathon!!.

Finally, running back into the tent, he sat down surrounded by security men. Tina handed over the towel and his kids hugged him.

On the request of photographers, Anil obliged to 'finish' the race yet again a couple of times, to ensure that every newspaper got his picture for Monday's edition.

But he wasn't finished yet. He also ran the seven kilometers Dream Run later.

"It was a very enjoyable. According to me, the course was good. But from the professional point of view it was not really good. It was wet and not flat at all. I did it in approximately 28 minutes [the Dream Run]. I ran for a cause and it is really heartening. I am looking forward to taking part next year and also before that I will take part in Marathons abroad," Anil said as he walked away with a horde of photographers chasing him.

Did someone say the rich and famous rule this country?

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