The city on Sunday became the first-ever destination, outside Europe and the United States, to host the “Marathon Flame” in the lead up to the seventh Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to be held on January 17.

The flame was brought from the historic city of Greece to the metropolis by champion Greek marathon runner Maria Polyzou.

The flame travels only to select cities that host major marathon races and its arrival here is in recognition to the growing popularity of the event that began seven years ago.

Polyzou lit the flame at the international airport and handed it over to Mumbai Mayor Shraddha Jadhav for start of the relay.

From the airport, it was then brought to Hutatma Chowk in South Mumbai where a 15-foot high cauldron was lit up by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

Celebrities from different walks of life, including event ambassador and actor John Abraham, Rahul Bose, writer Shobha De, MP Priya Dutt, model Milind Soman, Olympian Dhanraj Pillay and cricketer Kiran More took part in the relay.

For the first time the competitors would traverse the newly built Worli-Bandra Sea Link. The total prize money on offer is $310,000, of which the men and women’s winners would get $35,000 each.

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