Shabana Azmi: 'We need more running events'

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By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, Jan. 19 -- Javed (husband Javed Akhtar) often says that for me life is a marathon that I run like a 100-metre sprint," smiles Shabana Azmi, one of the 10 stars who along with actors like Ranbir Kapoor, Prateik and Chitrangda Singh, ran at the Mumbai Marathon last Sunday.

In 2004, when the event was flagged off, there were only 22,000 participants, this year there were 38,400. Shabana, with her arm in a sling, ran for the Mijwan Welfare Society, set up by Kaifi Azmi to raise funds for the education and empowerment of girls in his native village.

"In Mijwan the locals have also been running an annual marathon on January 14, Abbas's birthday, since he passed away. It's a big high for them to have celebs in Mumbai run a Marathon for Mijwan and Azamgarh that has now been dubbed Atankgarh, due to some miscreants."

She points out that both the annual events give people an opportunity to get together: "For Mumbaikars it's a reason to celebrate the spirit of the city. For Mijwan, it's a chance to experience this giving, sharing and caring spirit. For me it was doubly special because along with the play Kaifi And I and Legends: Kaifi Azmi, a CD brought out by Sa Re Ga Ma, it was a commemoration of Abba's 90th birth anniversary.

She admits that since they got into the race pretty late, they weren't able to raise as much money as expected despite the presence of so many stars. But Shabana exults over the fact that the marathon has become a platform for various NGOs to promote their cause and for citizens to come out of their homes. "It's a great rush. We need more events like this to get Mumbai up and running," she says.