9th edition of IBVVMM to flag off tomorrow;

Event Ambassador Asian Champion Gopi T eyes Olympic medal

by Priya Jadhav

Mumbai : December:  9th Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai-Virar Mayor's Marathon which is scheduled to be flagged off tomorrow will see  a tough competition in the full marathon category with Rahul Pal of the Army, who has a personal best of 2:21.52 and  winner of the Allahabad Marathon 2019 being challenged by Harendra Chauhan, who finished runner-up behind him. Also posing a strong challenge will be Army mate Mohit Rathore, the runner-up in 2017, ASI, Pune’s Brahmprakash who clocked 2:24.50 and Air Force’s Sukhdev Singh, who clocked 2:27.51 in Allahabad.

IBVVMM is the only national-level running event in the country which is organized by a Municipal Corporation and offers the highest prize money of Rs 4 lakhs for Indian athletes. The winner of the Full Marathon for men stands to gain an award of Rs 2.50 lakh, while the male and female winners of the Half Marathon will take home Rs 1.25 lakh each.
Asian Marathon Champion and Olympian Gopi T, the first and only Indian athlete to win gold in the Asian Marathon Championship has been invited as a special guest. When asked about his goals, Gopi who hails from the army background Said, " You have to be mentally very strong to run a marathon. I have had a passion for running and it was fueled further when I joined the Armed forces. Army Sports Institute has produced some of the best athletes over the years and it has helped me a lot to shape my career".  When asked about his dream of an olympic gold he added, " I am in the best shape currently , i had taken a short break due to my marriage but I am back to full time training. I am hopeful of putting up a good show and make my country proud". 
The men’s half marathon will be spearheaded by defending champion Shankar Man Thapa, who also finished third at the Mumbai Marathon and is also the National Cross Country champion. He will have to contend with last year’s runner up and winner of the Darjeeling Hill Marathon 2019, Durga Bahadur, who clocked 1:05.48 in the Delhi Half Marathon.
The women’s half marathon will be spearheaded by Arti Patil, who finished third last year but has improved her performance, along with Swati Gadhave of Railways, Arpita Saini from UP and Gargi Sharma from Himachal.
Race Timings: The Full Marathon will be flagged off from New Viva College, Virar W at 6.00 am, while the Half Marathon will be flagged off from Victor Heights, Vasai West at 6.30 am. The 11Km Run will be flagged off from New Viva College at 6.10 am, while the 5km Timed Run will be flagged off at 7.25 am, also from New Viva College. All the junior age category events, along with the runs for senior citizens as well as the DhamaalDhaav will be flagged off from New Viva College.
Special Marathon Train: Continuing in its support for the event, Western Railway has announced a special train for the Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon, which will leave Churchgate Station at 3.00 a.m. and reach Vasai and Virar at 4.23 am and 4.31 am respectively, after stopping at all stations. Free transport will be provided to all participants from Vasai Station and Virar Station to the respective start points.
The event has the support of the Palghar District Police, who will be responsible for the Law and Order as well as traffic control on the route. They will be assisted by over 300 private security personnel.
125 officials, from all over the State, coordinated by the Palghar District Athletic Association, will be responsible for the technical conduct of the event. A total of 700 volunteers, among them teachers and students will be on hand to assist in the conduct of the race.

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