Come Sunday, February 15, thousands of Mumbaikars will participate in the Mumbai Marathon and run for charity.
Be it Reliance Industries' vice-chairman Anil Ambani, cricket legend Kapil Dev, hockey ace Dhanraj Pillai, actors John Abraham and Rahul Bose, actresses Tara Sharma and Mandira Bedi or yesteryear heroine Tanuja, all have appealed to Mumbaikars to join the run and raise funds for charities.
They will be joined by a host of international celebrity athletes that include world marathon record holder Paul Tergat, world long jump record holder Mike Powell, South Africa-born British runner Zola Budd, former Marathon Cup winner Richard Nerurkar and ex-Olympic and world 400 metres champion Michael Johnson.
"The single most compelling reason to take part is the fact that you can run to raise money for over 120 charities across India in a bid to make a difference to the lives of several thousand people," said M A Ravi Kumar, regional head, global markets, Standard Chartered Bank, the main sponsor of the event.
The run will be divided into three categories: the longest run will be of 42.195 km, the half marathon will be 21.097 km and the Dream Run will be 7 km. The total prize-money on offer is US $ 2,10,000.
The organisers are unwilling to zero down on what kind of figure they expect to generate from the marathon.
"In the recently-held London Marathon the amount generated was $ 37 million for the organisers. But as far as we are concerned we don't know. We will update the media from time to time about the money that is being generated for the marathon. We only hope to raise more money for this noble cause," added Ravi Kumar.
The organisers expect at least 30,000 people join the run, the first of its kind to be held in Mumbai.
"I am participating in this event because it is for a very noble cause. Never we will get an opportunity to raise so much funds for all the deprived people under one banner. I only hope more people join this race and raise funds for the deprived people," said actor Rahul Bose.
Actress Tara Sharma added: "I feel running is good for health and I am more happy to participate in this programme because of the fact that this is taking place in my city. I will be running for 'Magic Bus', an NGO that works for slum and street children in Mumbai, giving them opportunities to develop life skills through creative expression, sports and outdoor adventure activities. I am looking forward to be a part of this programme."