Asia’s largest (and the world’s fourth largest) Marathon for a social cause was held on the 17th January 2010. This Seventh edition of the run, was not only about altitude (the feeling of being high), but also about the attitude. The attitude to ‘do, will do’ coupled with an enormous feeling of empathy, which we found to be true for every Mumbaikar.
CHILDLINE has tied its umbilical telephone line for children in distress with this event. And it has been possible only with the support of the various teams and individuals from various walks of life, who decide to run for our cause, year after year.
This year, was again as crazy as ever with 320 people representing CHILDLINE on the track, who ran, walked and somehow dragged themselves to the finish line.
Of these humanitarians supporting our cause, were 10 corporate teams. Of which Axis Bank, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Sanofi Aventis, Star TV and Tata AIG were the corporate challenge teams whereas Cross Tabs, Deloitte, HDFC, Nickelodeon and Vodafone ran with the CHILDLINE children and the CHILDLINE team.
While our jumping, smiling children were singing ‘dus-nau-aath hai mere saath’ to the finish line and motivating the teams to complete the race, from the Invitee Marquee the Dream Team runners were already rushing past the start line towards the finish. Among them were Mihir Doshi (CEO, Credit Suisse), Sunil Rawlani(VP, HDFC Insurance) , Anup Maheshwari(VP, DSP Blackrock), Monica Tata (VP Marketing, Turner India) and Shobha De(writer, journalist).
The Cartoon characters, Sponge Bob- square pants and Dora- the explorer also were part of the marathon furore and a hit among our children, as well as quite a few adults too. It was also super star Shahid Kapoor, from our Mumbai Bollywood frat who got everyone charged up as he expressed his support to our cause not only at the Marathon, but also the week before it at a Press Conference at La Royal Meridian. He wanted to be a voice that carried a message to the masses ‘Call 1098, whenever you see a child in distress’.
Another hero was Sunil Rawlani who came with a mental set-up of doing only 10 kms having had managed only 10 days training. But the zeal for the cause pushed him to finish the whole 21 Kms of the half marathon distance. And the heroine of the day was definitely, Shobha De who came across as the most spirited runner. She was seen instilling energy into the corporate teams, recharging the dream team runners and flagging off the children at the start line and then running with them, as the CHILDLINE green flapped against the wind.
The excitement which was there peaking for all the four hours down south in Mumbai on that day has faded for the year. The tired feet have rested. But the countdown is still on. DUS… NAU… AATH…It’s a countdown to a better life for the children of our country.