Mumbai Marathon has seen one amazing journey in the last 14 years (the 2018 edition of Tata Mumbai Marathon being the 15th one). Started by brothers Anil and Vivek Singh, the men behind Procam, the vision right from the first year was always to have the event stand up to the standards of the top running events worldwide, and though the beginnings were small and humble, the event has seen explosive growth.
With the 15th edition happening in a couple of days, lets take a look at that journey (see 2018 registration stats here).
Small start, but revolutionary
The first edition in 2004 saw 99 men and 17 women finishers in the Marathon. Today, an event by a small time event organizer will get more audience, but then that was 2004, when people hardly knew what running was, right? Chip timing is common nowadays; 2004, it was revolutionary for us here in India. International athlete participation right from the beginning, when even today we don’t see other events able to manage this well. TV ads were running non-stop those days to promote the event. Procam was definitely holding no punches to make this event the best India had to offer, for years to come.
Half Marathon – lesser distance, more runners
The half marathon at Mumbai was never highlighted as the bigger event, though it always saw more participation. The 2004 edition had 233 men and 26 women finishers, but the growth here has been explosive. The numbers continued to zoom to where they are today, with about 12,000 finishers in 2017.
The reality is, the organizers are forced to cap the registration at about 15,000 runners to make sure they will be able to manage the participants well, otherwise, getting 20,000 registrations is surely not out of the picture. Half marathon category fills out within the first few weeks of registration start, unlike the full marathon which may take a couple of months or more.
Men vs Women participation
The grown of both the full and half marathon has been phenomenal. In 2017, the finisher figures were 4679 and 11974 respectively. However, when we compare the participation of women, we see a different story. In the half, women stand at about 18% of the field, still very low by international standards where women occasionally outnumber men with more than 50% participation.
The full marathon however presents quite a contrasting picture, with women runners accounting for only 8% of the field. Comparing the growth curve for the marathon chart above, the men’s participation has just taken off, while women’s participation is increasing, but at a much smaller rate.
Procam – always looking for ways to improve
The organizing team is always looking at ways to add new dimensions to the event. For 3 years or so, the 10k relay corporate challenge was introduced which provided a platform for corporates to take part and compete with each other. Initially, we remember that there was no medal for the half marathon runners, but that was soon rectified. This year, the one big change is the new category, the Timed 10K, which in our opinion would be one of the most successful in the years going ahead.
Mumbai Marathon is the biggest running event in India and tops our list of the biggest running events in India. If you haven’t still run this event, make sure its on your calendar for the next edition, this is one event not to be missed.