Mumbai: The route for the ninth edition of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to be held on Sunday has been altered to enable athletes attain a better timing.
"There is a slight change we have made to the race route at a 3km stretch. Following this all distances en route have changed," race director Hugh Jones told reporters here.
As per the new changes, athletes will have to take a left turn on the Vinayak K Shah Marg towards Maker Chambers from where they will have to take a U-turn to reach the Marine Drive.
From here, they will have to turn towards the NCPA and again take a U-turn to reach the Marine Drive from where they will have to march towards Chowpatty, he said.
Following the changes, the landmark Mumbai-Worli Sea Link, considered the toughest route of the course, which the athletes used to reach after reaching the 24km mark earlier, will only be 14km away this time around, Jones explained.
"With the qualification events for Olympics decreasing with time, we are trying to provide the athletes a platform to run faster," he said.
"There was not much wind (on the sea link) last year, but if it is present this year the athletes will benefit (as they would be a lot fresher when they reach the sea link)."
Athletes who complete the 42-km marathon within two hours and 18 minutes will qualify for the London Olympics. Instead of the usual 7:40 am, the marathon will begin at 7.25 am to allow runners to run more in cool climate.
IAAF race referee Dave Cundy said given the pleasant climate here, many elite marathoners will have an opportunity to finish the race within the 2 hours, 10 minute mark.
"Weather conditions are good. If similar conditions prevail on the race day, we may see the two hours 10 minutes mark being broken. Also, several Indians will have a chance to qualify for the Olympics," he added.
A total of 2,475 participants, including 235 females, are likely to feature in the USD 3,40,000 prize money event, organisers said.