Procam's Vivek Singh retraces first 15-year leg of the Mumbai Marathon
The Mumbai Marathon has witnessed many changes in the formats, runners and sponsorships but one thing that has remained consistent in the last 14 years was title sponsor Standard Chartered. The 15th year marks a milestone for the iconic race as it bids adieu to Standard Chartered and embraces Tata Group as its title sponsor, who will carry that baton for the next decade. Vivek Singh, Jt. Managing Director, Procam International takes us through a freewheeling journey through the 15 year long run.
The Mumbai Marathon, now known as Tata Mumbai Marathon, was created in 2004. Over the years the marathon has undergone many changes in terms of sponsorships, format and participants.
“Standard Chartered have been wonderful sponsors so far and now after 14 years they have decided to move on. We will be eternally greatful to them and I feel now the Mumbai Marathonwill don a whole new avatar with Tata as its leading title sponsor. It is a natural progression that happens and has really stood the test of time.” Said Vivek Singh, Jt. Managing Director, Procam International.
The unique philanthropy model which applies to not only India but also the world has helped the company raise charities and monies. The marathon was setup as a cause agnostic platform with over 290 NGO’s associated and each one trying to raise money and awareness for different causes. The 2017 Mumbai Marathon has raised over INR 30 crore for charity and it has created a culture of giving since the first marathon 14 years ago explained Vivek Singh.
The marathon has become a much larger race since 2004 with a global reach over the years. The changing trends have developed a bond between civil society organizations and citizens of the country. In 2005 Mumbai Marathon was included as one of the legs of "The Greatest Race on Earth". The other three legs of this four-marathon race were the SingaporeMarathon, the Nairobi Marathon and the Hong Kong Marathon.
“The standards of Indian athletes have risen, the prize money gets the best runners to participate in the races and as far as prize money is top dollar the live television brings us the magic from all over. There are many parameters that have brought in the changes in the trends including charity, actual stature of the event and the emotional connect with the city and the country which has increased as well.” Says Vivek with respect to the changing trends of the Mumbai Marathon.
The road to achieving sponsors for distance running was not very easy for Procam International when the initiative first started off in the year 2004. The initiative was not known and brands were very skeptical to provide the necessary funds to an unknown event. Many sponsors who did join hands with the sports company have stuck with them since 14 years.
Sponsors including DHL, Radio Mirchi, Asian Heart Institute etc. are the brands that have gone the distance with the MumbaiMarathon. The Tata Group has also been associate partners since the year 2007 and have taken the lead entitled role in the 11th year of their association with the Mumbai Marathon. The event had also began with 2 to 3 races in 2004 and since the present year there have been over 700 running events in India. The marathon has encouraged and risen distance running to a highly recognized platform in the country.
The marathon has achieved tremendous media attention since 15 years and Vivek claims that the Mumbai Marathon has picked up worldwide due to this reason. Involving major celebrities and business tycoons have contributed to gaining more viewership and involvement for citizens across India and for people across the world. The global profiling of the marathon has also seen an increase and has recognized the country as a running destination globally. John Abraham has been the face of the marathon since the year 2008 and marks a decade at the 2018 Tata Mumbai Marathon.
At the launch Vivek spoke about the increase in the number of runners and also explained the changes in the formats during the 15 year journey for the marathon. He said, “The number of runners are capped at 40,000 and for 2018 we have added 5,000 runners more that brings it to 45,000 runners for the 10K charity run and we wanted to take people away from the 6 and 7 dream run and give them some alternatives to the 21K long gap.” He further added, “We had 19,000 runners in the first year that included 800 full marathoners and this year there will be over 8000.”
The 15-year run has been very long are obviously wearisome but Procam hopes this change in identity from SCMM to TMM will prove to be a refreshing development, as it sets off into the sunset, on another long and purposeful dash.
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