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Rediff.com  » Sports » 'I love Mumbai, I run for Mumbai'

'I love Mumbai, I run for Mumbai'

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Last updated on: January 16, 2005 17:46 IST

A general view of the Mumbai MarathonFormer India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay took some time off from his busy schedule to take part in the Mumbai Marathon and raise money for charity.

Pillay, who is playing for Maratha Warriors in the Premier Hockey League, used the event to generate funds for Parikrama, a Bangalore-based charity, which provides free education for around 350 children.

"It feels good to run for a cause. It is very necessary for people to come forward and support this marathon.

"We should help organizations like Parikrama who are doing so much for poor children and providing them with education, which is important for every child," he said.

The hockey ace will leave for Hyderabad on Sunday night to resume his stint with the Maratha Warriors.

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A cause to run

Mumbai's Prakash Nadar, who participated in the 5-km handicap race, used the opportunity to spread the message of peace.

"Why do we have wars? War kills millions. Just look the Iraq war, so many innocent people have been rendered handicapped for no fault of theirs."

Nadar, who was escorted by his friend Vinod Rawat, said he will be undertaking a Shanti Yatra to Pakistan, which will kick-off on January 26.

"I want to meet Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf and spread the message of peace and friendship.

"Both India and Pakistan should live like good neighbours. Why all this hatred when we can live brothers and sisters?"

Currently, he is awaiting support for his trip to Pakistan.

"I have met Mr. Anil Ambani. He told me 'I will get back to you on this issue', which is a great sign from the great man," he said.

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'I love Mumbai, I run for Mumbai'

Navin Swali and Mridula Swali, who took part in the 5-km Senior Citizens run, said they ran to inspire young people to run in the event next year.

"If we senior citizens can run and finish the race, then young people will also learn and take part in the race," said Navin.

The Swalis, who reside in Chembur, Mumbai, said the race was very well organised and the arrangements were good.

"We practiced very hard for this race. For the last one month we used to walk four kms everyday, so it was not a problem competing in this race."

They will use this opportunity to generate some money for the poor.

"We plan to raise some money to sponsor the education of poor children. Because I love Mumbai, I run for Mumbai," added Mridula.

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The participants of the Dream Run went through the starting point chanting the name of Sachin Tendulkar, who cheered them on with a bunch of celebrities perched on a wooden platform.

As the crowd of runners dwindled a couple of stars joined in, but to the disappointment of the runners, Tendulkar stepped on to the track only for a couple of minutes. The batting maestro, sporting a black T-shirt and red cap, started off with security guards around him but turned back quickly.

Tendulkar was at the Mumbai Marathon for an NGO, Apnalaya, which works for underprivileged children.

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When Sachin gave the slip

The participants of the Dream Run went through the starting point chanting the name of Sachin Tendulkar, who cheered them on with a bunch of celebrities perched on a wooden platform.

As the crowd of runners dwindled a couple of stars joined in, but to the disappointment of the runners, Tendulkar stepped on to the track only for a couple of minutes. The batting maestro, sporting a black T-shirt and red cap, started off with security guards around him but turned back quickly.

Tendulkar was at the Mumbai Marathon for an NGO, Apnalaya, which works for underprivileged children.

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Steve Ovett, the British long-distance runner, now 50, thought the 25,000 participants of the Dream Run would be too far ahead to catch up.

"No, they have left long time ago," he said, "I am not running if I can't win. That's probably because I have been a competitor all my life."

 Ovett was impressed with the volume of people taking part in the run. He said Mumbai, with a population of 15 million, has the capacity of staging the biggest marathon.

 "The numbers are staggering, aren't they. The response from the people has been overwhelming; we can all see that. London, which has a population of 10 million, is probably the only other city that has a bigger presence.

"The only thing now is that they should not let the numbers go out of control," he cautioned.

Harish Kotian and Deepti Patwardhan
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