In only its second year, the Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon has got the tag of national-level event after getting an approval of the Athletics Federation of India.
The race will be held on October 14 and will carry an enhanced prize fund of Rs 17 lakh.
“Last year, the inaugural edition of the race was a state level event. This year we have sought and got approval from the Athletics Federation of India and it’s going to be a national-level event,” said a spokesperson for the organising committee at a media conference on Thursday.
“We expect a very good field from the army, railways and others. Army’s chief coach K S Thomas has assured us that a strong field of runners would be sent (for the men’s full marathon). There is a possibility that Ram Singh Yadav would also be seen in action.
“The AFI has said it would be sending out invites to all the units affiliated to it. This is seen as a good tune up for the Mumbai Marathon (to be held in January next),” the spokesperson added.
Yadav was the country’s sole entrant in the men’s marathon held on the concluding day of the London Olympics on August 12, having gained a berth through the Mumbai Marathon – in which he emerged as the fastest among Indians – held in January.
The men’s full marathon winner would pocket Rs 2 lakh, up from Rs 1 lakh given last year, while the winner of the women’s half marathon would be richer by Rs 1 lakh, the same prize being earmarked for the corresponding men’s champion.
Last year, the men’s winner got Rs one lakh and the total prize fund was Rs 15 lakh. There would also be different age group events for boys and girls, along with those for those above 50 years of age.
The organisers – Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation and Vasai Taluka Kala Krida Vikas Mandal – are also going to provide the full marathon runners with timing chips, by charging them Rs 200 each, it was announced.
Vasai-Virar municipal corporation’s mayor Rajeev Patil said that like last year this year too providing protection for the girl child would be the main theme of the race.
“Save the Girl Child and Maintain Nature’s Balance” would be the motto of the marathon, he said.
The organisers are also planning to invite a top former athlete to be the event’s brand ambassador.
They have also roped in model and former national level swimmer Milind Soman to support the event. He will also take part in the full marathon on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, the NGO he is associated with.
Content sourced from TOI