They say, “All good things are worth the wait”… and I did wait so long to see my childhood dream get fulfilled. And the realm turned into real in front of my eyes! As a kid, I always used to watch the Mumbai Marathon every year and the most attractive thing that time was to see celebs running with the commoners. But later I realized that the greatest ethos of the marathon was the nil-desperandum spirit of Mumbai. Being a daughter of a naval officer, I used to visit the magnificent Mumbai quite often and gradually came to know that the city neither sleeps completely nor says die….
What is Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon?
The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, abbreviated as SCMM, is an annual international marathon held in Mumbai, India, on the third Sunday of January every year. It is the largest marathon in Asia as well as the largest mass participation sporting event on the continent. It is the richest race in India with a prize pool of USD $350,000.
SCMM has six different race categories: marathon (26.218 miles (42.194 km), half marathon (21.097 km), Dream Run (6 km), Senior Citizens Race (4.3 km), Champions with Disability category (2.4 km) and DHL Corporate Champions (42.195 km, 4-person relay).
The marathon is an event where people from all walks of life participate including Bollywood celebrities, sports personalities, business tycoons and amateur athletes.
~ As per Wikipedia
Fortunately, I got my dream come true as Jet Airways, being the official sponsor for SCMM gave me the golden opportunity to be part of India’s most awaited event of the year, the [highlight]Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon[/highlight], held on [highlight]15th January, 2017[/highlight] at [highlight]CST, Mumbai[/highlight]. And being a fitness-freak who wouldn’t have that earnest desire to meet the biggest fitness icon and the face of SCMM, none other than the star John Abraham!
Knowing what all was in store for me, I was brimming with sheer excitement for my journey to Mumbai. Jet Airways was the official sponsor for the SCMM this year and they flew me down to Mumbai on 14th Jan, 2017 with optimum comfort in the Première class. That upgradation from Economy to Business class was indeed a surprise for me and marked the onset of my travel on an effortlessly classy note.
I reached Mumbai at the 14th evening and was given a stay by Jet Airways in the [highlight]Hyatt Regency, Andheri[/highlight]. I was asked to report at the Jet Airways brand zone at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal at 5 a.m. in the morning when the race was about to commence. The entire Jet team gave me a very warm welcome and I was introduced to all the employees, crew and of course Mr. Amit Agarwal, CFO & acting CEO of Jet Airways present there. Great humility and hospitality is all that Jet Airways is known for so was what I experienced with their phenomenal team. Fully packed with zeal, I was all set to cheer the runners out there to moon and back.
After a sumptuous breakfast with the Jet teammates, I was granted the marquee for the entrance to the Jet cubicle along with a special pass to the ‘grand stand’ from where I could watch the entire marathon live and air it. It was a surreal feeling to watch all the announcements and prize distributions by the celebrities happen right in front of me. 🙂
And here’ to the most memorable moment of the day! When John Abraham was let down the grand stand after the big announcement and flag off I still remember myself running down towards him for a selfie after getting permission from the CFO & acting CEO of Jet Airways. Fortunately, I could eye-to-eye ask him for one, but unfortunately a crew popped in for a picture following which he was in a hurry and told me ‘later on’ (like all celebs do). A disappointed me so how knew that the ‘later’ wouldn’t ever come and I had almost missed the opportunity. 🙁
But I was keenly adamant on having that one picture of the day with him especially for my Symphonites and without losing hope followed him till the Radio Mirchi cubicle where he was giving his video byte. After waiting for about 20 minutes there, a hopeful ‘me’ moved towards him seeing him come out. But duh! Those bodyguards simply pushed me back despite that I told them that I had due permission for that. I did nothing but shouted ‘John’ from behind and it was really the ‘This is it!’ moment for me ( 😉 ), for John looked back and smiled at me telling his bodyguards, ‘Hey! Let her in, I’ve promised her a selfie’! Gosh those goosebumps man!!! I blushed and ran after him and he was sweet enough to quickly allow me click 2,3 selfies with him one after the other. And my day was actually made, couldn’t have asked more from the Jet Airways management. 😀
The 14th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon not just made the ordinary Mumbaikars being drawn by the event but several stars and dignitaries as well. Right from the brand ambassador [highlight]John Abraham[/highlight] to [highlight]Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis[/highlight], various celebrities left the confines of their home to extend their wholehearted support to the ever zealous SCMM participants out there.
The prizes of the half marathon and the Best Dressed category were presented to the winners by CM Fadnavis and his wife Amruta. [highlight]Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goyel[/highlight] too attended the event and was seen in the company of Fadnavis and [highlight]Olympian David Rudisha[/highlight]. The Dream Run was flagged off by John Abraham while [highlight]Rahul Bose[/highlight] led it. [highlight]Harsha Bhogale, Sonali Bendre, Juhi Chawla, Tara Sharma[/highlight], along with celebrity chefs [highlight]Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar, Amrita Raichand[/highlight] and many more were spotted at the Mumbai marathon supporting a variety of causes.
The day ended on a flamboyant note with a delectable luncheon for the guests, the Jet Airways staff and of course me too followed by a group picture. I was undoubtedly swayed by the stupendous hosts the entire Jet Airways team proved to be. And a lovely gesture by one of the teammates from Jet who turned out to be a very good friend, was when he escorted me to the hotel back in the cab after the marathon was summed up around 12 pm. Finally back in Hyatt I got a complete day to chill out with my friends. 😀
Followed by that gala day, I checked out of the hotel next day 16th Jan early morning as I had my flight at 7:30 a.m. The Jet Airways team was sweet enough to have arranged an early morning breakfast for me packed by Hyatt management for my way. And the cherry on the cake was another upgradation to the première class where I flew down with utmost pride bidding adieu to the city of dreams. I am heartily thankful to Jet Airways for providing this one-of-a-kind experience which I’m gonna cherish for the lifetime.