Sunday, January 20, 2013

Marathon in Mumbai

Mumbai, January 20, 2013

Earlier today, Jackson Kiprop from Uganda and Velentine Kipketer from Kenya set new records for the Mumbai Marathon course, completing the distance of exactly 26 miles and 385 yards in 2:09:32 and 2:24:33 hrs respectively.

There are more than 500 marathons run every year.  When a city designs a marathon course it has to reproduce in its map the legendary 490 BC run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens.

An interesting design problem, don't you think?

The Mumbai Marathon is run mostly along the western side of the peninsula, with major portions at the edge of the Arabian Sea.  It starts and ends in front of the monumental main train station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (most appropriately, as so many things seem to begin at VT, Victoria Terminus.)  It crosses west to the seashore, reaches south to Nariman Point, follows Marine Drive arching around the Back Bay and continues north all the way to the Rajiv Gandhi Sealink (a recently completed major piece of road infrastructure.) At that point it loops back around Mahim Bay to return south along the same route.

In a way, Mumbai's marathon course measures the city north-south and follows its topographic history through several of the seven islands that originated Bombay (as the city was known before 1995) as well as the massive landfills that linked them beginning in 1782.

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