The work on the new metro line between Colaba in South Mumbai to Seepz in the western suburbs has started in earnest but is unlikely to affect the smooth holding of the 14th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon this Sunday, said race director Hugh Jones.
“The course is the same as last year. The road has narrowed down at the 23-km mark near the Hinduja Hospital, but enough space is there for the runners to go through unhindered,” said Jones at a media conference organised to announce the technical details of the 42-km race.
The full marathon race for elite and Indian athletes is to be flagged off from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at 7:20 am on January 15.
Jones was also not too concerned about metro-related work spilling on to the course in at least two other locations – Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi and on the return leg close to the finish at Flora Fountain.
“There is enough road space at Siddhivinayak while Flora Fountain on D N Road is close to the finish line and there won’t be bunching of runners and athletes would be running in single file. It should not present a problem.”
Athletics Federation of India has deputed 95 officials to oversee the conduct of the race, it was announced. The marathon has a total prize fund of USD 3,84,000.
Ethiopias Ayele Abshero and Dinknesh Mekash, a two-time winner, head the elite fields.
The 26-year-old Abshero, a former world junior cross country champion, would be looking to make a big impact on his first trip to India with a personal best time of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 23 seconds, the best among those who have entered the race this year.
The Indian interest will lie mainly on Rio Olympian Kheta Ram, Mohd Yunis and Elam Singh, among men competitors.
Jyoti Gawate, Monica Raut and Monica Athare are the lead Indian athletes set to take part in the women’s race.